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Steelers vs. Titans: Running game will be key for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers had their best running game of the year last week against the Philadelphia Eagles with Rashard Mendenhall back in the running back rotation, something they'll hope to turn into a trend Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.

Mendenhall looked fine in his return from offseason ACL surgery, running for 68 yards, receiving for 33 and scoring a touchdown. But the ground game wasn't limited to Mendenhall: Isaac Redman had his best game of the season with 41 yards. A team that had one of the league's worst running attacks entering the game busted out for 125 yards combined on the ground, nearly twice the team's previous season average. They'll try to keep it up against Tennessee, as Neil Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain writes:

It's likely the Steelers continue to ride their hot hand on the ground. Their offensive line is just four days removed from its best performance of the season, racking up 125 rushing yards against Philadelphia. It was the manner in which they earned those yards more than the gains themselves. They were physical up front and finished off blocks with a sense of "nasty" they haven't had in some time.

On defense, a team without Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley will try to punish the Titans' offense, which didn't look great with Jake Locker and has looked worse with his replacement, Matt Hasselbeck, since Locker left the game two weeks ago against the Houston Texans. The Titans will likely try to move the ball with Chris Johnson, but Pittsburgh shut down LeSean McCoy last week, holding him to 53 yards on 16 carries.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.