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Steelers might make it a tight spot for Packers

What the Pittsburgh offense needs to do against Green Bay in the Super Bowl.

January 28, 2011|By Sam Farmer
  • Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace has the ability to make things very complicated for Green Bay's secondary.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace has the ability to make things very… (Matt Sullivan / Reuters )

What the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense must do to be successful against the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl (Feb. 6, 3:30 p.m. PST, Ch. 11):

Keep it down

The Steelers are going to try to run, just as they did so effectively against the New York Jets. In that game, they frequently ran out of multiple-tight-end formations. The more tight ends you have on the line of scrimmage, the more gaps you've added for a defense to contain. That tends to calm an aggressive, risk-taking defense such as Green Bay's.

If the Packers are poised to stop the run in a 3-4 formation — as opposed to bracing for the pass with a 2-4-5 — the Steelers will look to throw. Watch for Pittsburgh to get the favorable matchup of tight end Heath Miller covered by Green Bay linebacker A.J. Hawk.

They like Mike

Watch for the Steelers to throw a deep pass to receiver Mike Wallace early in the game, just as they did on their first play from scrimmage when they played the Packers in 2009. Last Sunday, Wallace ran right past New York cornerback Darrelle Revis and might have scored had the ball not been underthrown by roughly 10 yards.

Big game from big men

Pittsburgh needs an outstanding performance from its offensive line, especially because the best player in that group won't be available. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, whom offensive coordinator Bruce Arians called "a freak" because of how well he has played, is unlikely to play because of a high ankle sprain. Doug Legursky probably will start in his place, the latest in a long string of offensive line reshuffles this season.

Let Ben roll

The Packers know that the Steelers are at their most dangerous when Ben Roethlisberger extends a play, rolls out and finds a wide-open receiver down the field. Pittsburgh wants to protect against Green Bay attacking him, particularly from the right side. Roethlisberger is in a much better position to throw if he's rolling right.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesfarmer

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