By Teresa Varley
The season is only five weeks old, but it seems like each of those weeks a different player has been asked to step up for the Steelers because of a rash of injuries.
The most recent one to face the challenge was running back Mewelde Moore.
With Willie Parker and Carey Davis out for the Jaguars game, and Rashard Mendenhall on injured reserve, Moore got the starting call. And like those in weeks before him, he answered.
"He stepped up. He had an opportunity to do so and he delivered for this football team," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "He probably endeared himself to some guys in the locker room. You know how it is when you are the new guy, you have to earn your stripes, particularly a team that is built through the draft the way we are. I think he did that a little bit. He got some new friends in there."
Moore signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and quickly filled the role of third down back. But it was yet to be seen if he was a guy who could carry the load and the starting back.
"It was definitely a show and prove type of deal," said Moore. "On other teams your resume would speak for itself and how you accept people into your locker room. Here that is not the case. It is what have you done lately and then we'll move on from there."
From this point on, there will be no questions, no doubts, because his teammates know exactly what he did for them lately.
"Everyone was asking me if I was surprised by his performance," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "We know what he can do. He is not Willie Parker. There is no need to compare him to Willie Parker. He is his own person, he is his own back. He brings something special to the table, just like Willie brings something special to the table.
"I've always had confidence in him, he has it in himself and the rest of the guys have it in him as well. It is great to see him get a shot. He is doing a great job. I am really proud of the way he has played."
Moore had 17 carries for 99 yards, a 5.8-yard average. He also had three receptions for 17 yards.
"I am really happy about it," said Moore. "It's definitely something I have been waiting for. I have been waiting for an opportunity. I have been waiting for the challenge to present itself and try to make the most of it. And we got a win out of it so I am really happy.
Moore set the standard early when on the first play of the game he went up the middle for a 19-yard gain and continued to make huge contributions throughout.
"I have a lot of plays in me," said Moore. "My offensive line and wide receivers did a great job of blocking downfield. That's where it starts. Them believing and trusting I was going to get it done, you could see it up front as they were moving guys around for me.
"The expectations never change from Willie to Mendenhall to me. The standard of expectation doesn't change here. The thought is not only do we know you are going to do it, but you have to do it. We went out there and got it done as a team."
There was just one minor thing that didn't get done. Moore had 99 yards, falling just one short of getting a 100-yard game. But, he isn't complaining.
"It would have been like icing on the cake," said Moore. "A win and 99 yards, the win is my extra yard. I am satisfied with the win. I am satisfied with what we accomplished as a team."