It was crystal clear from the first game of this new season the Pittsburgh Steelers weren't ditching the air attack.
The arrival of offensive coordinator Todd Haley had ushered in talk of a renewed commitment to the run, but the team has all but fizzled up on the ground through three games.
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With 195 yards and 2.64 yards per carry, the Steelers are off to their worst start rushing the ball in 62 years. That takes us back to 1950, when Pittsburgh squeezed out just 189 yards in three games operating out of a single-wing offense. That team finished 6-6, but it wasn't scorching defenses through the air with Ben Roethlisberger, who's thrown for 904 yards and eight touchdowns.
Roethlisberger compiled nearly 200 yards in the first half alone in Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, but Pittsburgh lacks balance and we might not see much improvement from the run until starting back Rashard Mendenhall's return, slated for sometime next month. The team's longest rush through three games is 13 yards, but Mendenhall doesn't buy in to the doom-and-gloom talk.
"I don't think (the running game) is too much different than it's been," he said. "It might be perceived that we're struggling, and it's not the case. It's a different offense, we've got some different guys, and we're trying to figure out how to put it together."
The run protection from this offensive line has been a problem, and they don't have their best back in the lineup, but Pittsburgh must find a way to bring some balance to this offense before entering the heart of their schedule.