In their first six games of the 2014 season the Pittsburgh Steelers offense averaged 4.91 yards per carry. In their last four games, however, they’ve only averaged 2.87 yards per tote. While they did win three of those four games, offensive coordinator Todd Haley knows that the running game has to get back on track.
“Last week we didn’t run it near the efficiency that we wanted to,” Haley said Thursday during his talk with the media. “We have to be better. The Jets deserve some credit because they have consistently been good against the run this year. But we want to be able to run it against the best defenses. They were a good run defense. We didn’t do a good enough job. We need to do better.”
Part of the Steelers recent ground woes can probably be linked to them not running enough as running back Le’Veon Bell has only carried the football a total of 57 times in the last four games for an average of 14.25 times a game. Bell, however, told Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network Thursday that there’s been a lot of conversations this week about being more committed to the running game Monday night against the Tennessee Titans.
“That’s how you impose your will,” Bell told Kinkhabwala.
The Titans are certainly a team that appears ripe for having will imposed on them in the trenches as they have struggled quite a bit this season at stopping the run. They enter this game against the Steelers ranked 29th in the league in average rushing yards allowed per game (136.6) and 18th in the league in average yards allowed per carry (4.22).
In addition the stats above the Titans have also allowed 4.16 yards per carry this season on first down and 21 carries on first down against them have gone for 10 yards or more.
If the Steelers are able to establish an early ground game Monday night against the Titans it should open up some shots down the field off of play action. Last week against the New York Jets the Steelers offense only registered two plays of 20 yards or more and one of those was the final pass of the game by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant that resulted in an 80-yard touchdown.
Tennessee Titans 2014 Regular Season Rushing Defense Play Direction Report
|Plays: 36||Plays: 47||Plays: 35||Plays: 64||Plays: 38||Plays: 29||Plays: 30|
|Rank: 7||Rank: 1||Rank: 9||Rank: 14||Rank: 8||Rank: 11||Rank: 15|
|Avg: 4.22||Avg: 4.89||Avg: 4.80||Avg: 4.55||Avg: 4.32||Avg: 3.07||Avg: 5.57|
|Rank: 10||Rank: 26||Rank: 20||Rank: 25||Rank: 22||Rank: 5||Rank: 22|