Offense takes Giant steps

METHODICAL WINS: The Steelers' first three-game winning streak of the season has been complied with somewhat of a different nuance on offense.

It's not that they've abandoned taking shots down the field entirely.

"We still had our big-play moments," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger insisted after Sunday's 24-14 victory over the New York Football Giants on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. "We called a couple. We hit a couple. We didn't hit one or two other ones. But when a defense is taking away the big play we have got to be able to quote-unquote dink-and-dunk it, work it down the field and find the open guy."

The Steelers' time of possession in their 24-9 win on Nov. 20 at Cleveland was a season-high 33:58.

They surpassed that against the Giants, keeping the ball for 34:08.

In between, they lost the time-of-possession battle on Nov. 24 at Indianapolis (31:45-28:15). But they still managed to get running back Le'Veon Bell his touches (23 rushes, four receptions).

Bell's three busiest games of the season in terms of carries have been the last three, 28 at Cleveland, 23 at Indy and a season-high 29 (for 118 rushing yards) against the Giants.

"We're not going into the game saying, 'OK, we're running every play,'" Roethlisberger said. "We're going into the game with a gameplan, and being ready to make adjustments on the sideline to that gameplan."

The victory over the Giants also included the tight ends Ladarius Green, Jesse James and David Johnson being targeted more times (a combined 16) than wide receivers Antonio Brown, Landry Jones and Eli Rogers (13). The tight ends and wide receivers each caught a combined nine passes.

Bell was targeted seven times and tied Green and Brown with a team-high six catches.

"Being a balanced team has really made us better, being able to run it, run to set up the pass, pass to set up the run, play-actions, getting Le'Veon involved," Roethlisberger said. "That's why I said I think that was a total team win (over the Giants), and we've been doing that these last couple weeks."


CATCHING ON:** Green amassed a game-high 110 receiving yards and caught his first touchdown pass with the Steelers among his six catches. He had 30 yards receiving in his Steelers debut on Nov. 13 against Dallas, none at Cleveland and 67 at Indy.

"I'm not close to where I thought I would be but I'm getting closer," Green said. "I'm building a little more confidence every game. The team is still believing in me, they keep pushing me, so everything is getting better.

CONTAIN-MODE: Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, had 100 yards receiving, but it required 16 targets and 10 catches for Beckham to get there.

He had one catch for 10 yards during the first half, when the Steelers built a 14-0 lead.

The Steelers weren't able to substitute much on defense because of the Giants' reliance on the no-huddle offense, but the defense was still able to present different looks to quarterback Eli manning and Beckham.

Game action from Week 13 against the New York Giants on December 4, 2016

"A lot of it is doing what we do," cornerback Stephon Tuitt said. "But also we changed up coverages. We changed up who is down, who is back. We executed the gameplan well.

"(Cornerback) Artie (Burns) and I, we've got a system going. And we are continuing to work that system. Artie is playing well. (Strong safety) Sean Davis is playing well. We are going to need those rookies to continue to play like veterans for us."

HE SAID IT: "We knew we had a good group in front of us. We knew they were coming in gearing up to stop the run. We knew we had a long game in front of us. But our guys up front, they prepared for battle. They were out there talking trash and going back and forth. It was a fun game." _ Bell on sticking with the running game.

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