Mike Tomlin has confirmed that Rashard Mendenhall will get the start at the running back position for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their game today against the hated AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens.
Tomlin said, “Mendenhall is going to start tonight. He’s healthy, and so we’re going to do that, but you’re going to see all of the backs.”
Mendenhall was listed probable on the team’s injury report with an achilles injury, and there was little doubt that he would be getting the start against the Ravens. Isaac Redman is locked in as the third-down back, so it will be interesting to see how many carries the Pittsburgh Steelers will give Jonathan Dwyer.
With Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger out, the ability of the running game to produce against Baltimore’s still-tough run defense will be of paramount importance. The Ravens weakness on defense is in the secondary, and a good running game will help open things up further for veteran backup QB Byron Leftwich as the Steelers look to go for a crucial upset of their rivals.
This is the first game that Mendenhall will play in since being injured in Week 6 against the Tennessee Titans, and he was solid in the only game he played in all year the week before when he had nearly 100 total yards and a touchdown in a narrow victory over the rival Philadelphia Eagles. He was the difference in that game, and he could be the difference in this one too.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.