The run was the longest by a Steeler since Willie Parker dashed the same distance against the Saints five years ago.
Dwyer finished with 107 yards on 11 carries and opted to give credit to the offensive line that featured left tackle Max Starks _ who started five days after signing with his old team.
“They answered the bell,” Dwyer said. “They answered the challenge that everybody gave them … They showed the league what we’re about.”
And Dwyer and Redman showed they can be just as effective when the ball isn’t in their hands, protecting Roethlisberger when the Titans blitzed and helping give him enough time to throw for five scores for the second time in his career while getting sacked just once.
The Steelers ran for 174 yards as a team, the most since racking up 206 yards against Buffalo last season. They controlled the ball over 32 minutes and played the kind of physical game they’ve lacked most of the season.
Mendenhall will likely be back on Sunday when the Steelers face Tennessee. If he can’t go, however, the Steelers are hardly concerned. Their young backs showed they can handle the workload and the revamped line appears to be getting its sea legs just in time.
“What this does for us, I think, is set us up for the rest of the season,” offensive lineman Ramon Foster said. “We’ve found out through five games who can play where on the O-line and what we can do if we’re healthy, what we can do even if we’re not completely healthy, for that matter.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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