3 reasons Steelers are closer to the Super Bowl than we think

T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Ben is reportedly coming back and I’m excited.

I’m excited about this for two reasons, 1st Ben was having the best season of his entire career until Week 11. He was posting a career-high passer rating, nearly leading the league in touchdown throws, and was about to post the best td-int ratio I could’ve imagined from him. As of Week 10, he was entering MVP conversation for me and the stats were backing me up. Even if Ben regresses some from that form, he will still be better than 3/4 of the league. He was special.

The problem was the more we threw the ball, the harder it got on Ben. The league started doing to Ben what we saw the Buccaneers do to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. They would rush no more than 4 players and blanket the entire field coverage. If they weren’t getting to Ben because of how quick Ben was throwing the ball, all they had to do was make him hold the ball longer.

That brings us to my second reason, the running game will be back. The Steelers will run the ball more in this upcoming season to the tune of what they did at the start of 2020. Matt Canada will make the running game relevant again and the youth being integrated into the line will make it better. Pouncey and Big Al were fan favorites, but as age started setting in, the athleticism was declining. Pouncey couldn’t pull or block upfield like he once did. Big Al was having a hard time consistently setting the edge on the outside.

Even if pass blocking or the technical aspect of blocking, in general, take a decline from adding rookies, the athleticism will open up the blocking schemes we can employ in the running game. Ben has been using the pass to set up the run, but now that he has to throw short more often, that philosophy doesn’t work as much anymore. So Matt Canada is going to fix the run game with other more traditional means and if Ben averages no more than 45 passes a game, then this offense will be lethal.