Even after the Pittsburgh Steelers started to get back on track on the ground on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, players continue to be asked about the idea that they need to run the football more in order to be successful (in spite of the fact that they are 10-0), especially when it comes to “December football”.
Truth be told, the Steelers have not been the most efficient offense in the league this year, but importantly, they are as capable as any team in the league of moving the football when they do get going, and they have been among the more successful teams in converting in the red zone, which has helped them place fourth in the NFL in points per game.
When tight end Eric Ebron was asked if he believes it is the case that teams need to be able to run the ball more to win games in “December football”, he was originally dismissive. “We don’t care what people say. December football? If we have to throw it to win, we’re gonna throw it to win. It is what it is”.
He also acknowledged, however, that the run game is a work in progress and that it will get better. He also disputes the idea that they have been struggling as much as many have perceived due to a three- or four-game ‘slump’ that they had.
“At the same time, our run game will improve and it will continue to improve”, he said. “People have got to understand, now that everybody is in this intensive protocol, you’re not understanding that everybody’s not together for those run game reps, and we have to fit it in and get a much of them as we can as a unit when possible. And that’s something that we’re working through and will continue to work through, as things get complicated for us”.
“Yeah, we took a little dip”, he added, referring to the rushing numbers plunging heading into this past Sunday’s game, “but I think we have six games where we’re over 100 yards rushing, and we’re 10-0, so out of the four games where we didn’t rush for 100 yards, but yeah, we need to do better?”.
This Steelers team is already guaranteed to have an equal or better record than any team Ebron has been on since his Detroit Lions went 11-5 during his rookie season seven years ago. if they beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, it will tie for the most wins he has ever experienced in a single season.
So you’ll have to forgive him if he’s dismissive of the idea that they need to run the ball more, because they’re throwing and they’re winning. Then again, he’s always been on pass-first teams.