The Pittsburgh Steelers not only managed to rush for a 167 yards as a team in the Sunday night win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but they also were able to get a lot of those yards on the ground in chunks.
Heading into the game against the Bengals, the Steelers had only recorded 7 runs of over 10 yards and none over 20. Thanks to the efforts of Jonathan Dwyer and the offensive line play in Cincinnati, they now 15 runs of over 10 yards on the season and they recorded their first 2 running explosive plays as Dwyer had runs of 32 and 21 in the game.
Dwyer brought a well needed spark to the Steelers running game after sitting out the last two inactive. The last time the Georgia Tech product carried the football prior to Sunday night he fumbled it in the loss to the Oakland Raiders. Sunday night against the Bengals he never came close to fumbling on his way to a 122 yard night.
Dwyer was asked after the game about getting the opportunity to step in Sunday night because both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman were sidelined with injuries.
“It was a blessing," said Dwyer. "Two of my teammates and my brothers went down, but it was an opportunity, and the next man is supposed to step up. As a unit, we wanted to fill that void. There’s no let down, even though our two top guys went down. That was our main focus going in to this game for all of us young guys to step up.”
The real blessing here moving forward might be Dwyer himself. The Steelers have not had consistency in the running game all season and the rotation of Dwyer, Baron Batch and Chris Rainey seemed to work well Sunday night.
The big question now is whether or not Dwyer will continue to start this coming Sunday against the Washington Redskins. There is a good chance that either Mendenhall or Redman still might not be ready for action, so the former sixth round pick is likely to at least dress.
Has he earned the chance to start? We will have to wait and see Sunday as head coach Muike Tomlin is unlikely to tip his hand Tuesday during his press conference.