Paralysis by Analysis - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals

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They say a win is a win, but some wins are better than others.

The dominant performances we saw against Seattle and Tennessee were very good wins.

The wins the Steelers produced against the Colts and most recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars, seemed to produce more questions than answers about our beloved team.

After Taking a Week Off, Mendenhall Looked Strong and Fresh

What attracted the Steelers to Mendy in the first place was his explosiveness through the hole. In recent games he looked to be waiting too long for the hole to open, shuffling his feet like a teenager at his first dance. On Sunday, Mendenhall looked decisive and seemed to trust his O-line to make the hole he was approaching.

The result was that Mendy racked up 146 yards on 23 carries, good for an excellent 6.3 yards per carry. He also had his single longest rush in his career, a 68-yard scamper that set up the Steelers’ final score and gave them a 17-0 lead.

For the year, Mendenhall is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. This is not bad. We would like to see more than 4 yards per carry from our feature back, but it is what it is.

Arizona currently ranks 20th in the league in rushing yards per game. This would seem to indicate that the Steelers will have similar success against the Cards that they had against Tennessee and Jacksonville.

You’d have to believe that the three-headed monster of Mendy, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer (with some assistance from Mewelde Moore) will have a decent chance to move the ball on the ground.

Ready for the bad news? Only 33 of Mendenhall’s 146 yards came in the second half, when (you would think) the Steelers would be running the ball to eat the clock and put the game away.

Indeed, the Jaguars had a chance to win the game on a Hail Mary.

Where did the rushing attack, that was so effective in the first half, go in the second half? It’s hard to imagine the Jags made adjustments that made that much of a difference.

You see? Questions still surround the Mighty Black and Gold.

No Really, Mike Wallace is Really Good

Citizens, I know I have said this before, but this kid Wallace is going to be a star. He didn’t put up flashy numbers against Jacksonville and their (currently ranked) 7th ranked defense, but he did what he seems to do nearly every game. That was get behind the defense and catch bombs delivered from the right arm of Ben Roethlisberger (when Ben has had the time to deliver them).

Midway through the second quarter, on a 3rd and 9, Ben found Wallace for a pickup of 48 yards. Rasheed Mathis seemed to have decent coverage on the play, but couldn’t stop this play from happening.

Before that play, with the Steelers already up 7-0, Ben found Wallace for a 28-yard touchdown. The prettiest part of that play was the little pump-fake Ben gave to make the safety commit to covering Heath Miller. That left the deep middle open for Wallace to run into, away from his own coverage man.

These two plays demonstrate what those of us who watch the Steelers faithfully already know: You simply cannot cover Mike Wallace with a single defensive back.

He might not be mentioned with the elite receivers in the league yet, but he damn well should be.

Arizona’s pass defense is currently ranked 19th in the league. This is a good sign for the Steelers being able to move the ball through the air against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals’ defense is allowing 24.2 points per game this year, which puts them tied for 11th in the league.

I like the chances of the Steelers to be able to move the ball and score on the Cardinals.

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