The Pittsburgh Steelers' running game could have been expected to suffer, with a slew of injuries putting Isaac Redman in the limelight, but instead the running back gutted out the Steelers' third straight 100-yard performance on the ground.
The third-year running back put up a career high 147 yards on 26 carries in the team's 24-20 win over the New York Giants, his first ever game with even 100 yards. Although the third-year back out of Bowie State had played in 38 games for the Steelers in his three years after going undrafted, including every game in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he'd rarely been given the opportunity to carry the load like he was on Sunday, and he did not disappoint.
The Steelers were 31st in rushing earlier in the year before Rashard Mendenhall came back from a knee injury, but he quickly left the lineup again after suffering an Achilles injury, making many expect the team's ground game to continue to disappoint. But rather than more of the doldrums, the team seemed to have found something with Jonathan Dwyer, who managed 107 and 122 yards on the ground in back-to-back weeks. However, Dwyer went down with a groin injury and was unable to play Week 9 against the Giants, forcing Redman to step in.
With the Steelers' running backs contributing regardless of who is getting the carries, David Todd writes that some of the credit should go to the offensive line:
The offensive line deserves equal billing with Redman. They consistently opened holes and dominated the Giants defense front in the run game. The Steelers finished with 158 yards rushing, 4.5 yards/att. After a shaky start, the pass protection was much improved in the second half and allowed Ben to settle in and lead two fourth quarter scoring drives. Willie Colon was a mauler and Will Johnson continues to prove to be very useful.