It’s obvious to say but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rushing game was woefully disappointing in 2019. I wanted to put that in further context into how inefficient and downright negative the run game was last season.
Below is a table of the offenses with the highest percentage of run stuffs during the season, defined as runs gaining zero or negative yards. The Steelers, as you’ll see, don’t come out looking good here.
|Team||Run Stuff %|
|New York Jets||23.8%|
Only the Miami Dolphins had a worse percentage and they had a historically unproductive run game.
For further perspective, here is the Steelers’ run stuff % over the last five years.
2018 – 19.1%
2017 – 21.3%
2016 – 10%
2015 – 22.4%
2014 – 20.3%
In fact, that 25.1% mark was the worst of the Kevin Colbert era.
Fixing the run game is an obvious step, one Art Rooney II has repeated since the season ended.
“And so, you know, I think you can still be a team that runs the ball and you know the old saying, ‘if you run the ball and play good defense, you’re going to be in most games’ and we saw that with a number of teams this past season.”
Getting Ben Roethlisberger back will go a long way to improving those numbers. But it isn’t the only factor at play. The run scheme was poor, linemen had trouble getting to the second level, and injuries in the backfield certainly did the offense no favors.
Despite their issues last year, there were moments where the offense ran the ball. During one stretch, they put up 120+ yards in three straight games. It’s about finding consistency and ultimately, creating a more effective ground game. A higher rate of successful runs, as Dave Bryan talks about, which means reducing those “stuffs” to put them in more manageable second and third downs.