The Pittsburgh Steelers had a season-high 158 yards rushing tonight. It was also the first game Roosevelt Nix’s played since suffering a knee injury.
Those two things aren’t a coincidence.
That’s how Mike Tomlin framed things talking about Nix’s impact in the Steelers 27-14 win over the Miami Dolphins.
“Rosie’s presence was significant,” he said in his post-game presser. “It’s probably no coincidence his first game back we were able to get the run game going and going in a big way. He’s a significant component of it. But we’ve known that. Rosie’s been apart of us and been a significant component of that for a long time. Good to have him back out there.”
Nix’s presence was felt early in the game. James Conner’s second carry of the night went for 25 yards on a Lead Strong call running behind #45.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 29, 2019
Conner finished the game with 145 yards on the ground, second most since entering the NFL in 2017. As a team, they carried the ball 29 times for 158 yards, a healthy 5.4 yards per carry, and one score.
After the game, Conner’s first tweet was sent Nix’s way.
@Dat_Dude_Nix thank you. 💯
— James Conner (@JamesConner_) October 29, 2019
Keep running like the champion you are https://t.co/iZnbnU82JW
— 5⃣Roosevelt nix (@Dat_Dude_Nix) October 29, 2019
We’ll have the official numbers and charting later in the week but the Steelers had multiple successful runs with Nix in the game. When Mason Rudolph struggled early, Pittsburgh leaned on the run game to move the ball. They also turned to Conner and company to close out the game.
Nix even caught a pair of passes, netting four yards, and played his usual compliment of snaps on special teams.
Pittsburgh has to be able to run the ball successfully independent of Nix, a fullback is still going to be used no more than about 25% of the snaps in any given game, but having him available sure gives the run game more options. And it’s a great way to finish out a game with some physicality, which the team managed to do tonight. They’ll need him next week, especially if running back depth is thin after Conner and Benny Snell suffered injuries. Odds are good Jaylen Samuels returns next Sunday.