“I think I’ve got my swagger back”
That was the money quote in one of the funniest interviews from the last decade. And it sums up where the Pittsburgh Steelers’ O-line is at. They’re not just playing better, they’re acting like it too. Especially as a run-blocking unit. All the things the Steelers tried to build this offseason, a more physical, aggressive, big ‘ol chip on your shoulder is finally coming into focus.
That was as evident as anything in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. The results, in part, speak for themselves. The ground game was good, outproducing Cleveland’s #1 attack across the board. More yards, better success rate, better in short-yardage situations. But stats only tell so much.
The attitude, the confidence this group is showing is different. We’ll have a video that helps illustrate it later today or tomorrow but Pittsburgh imposed their will on the Browns’ front seven, a tough unit that’s done well against the run. But the Steelers moved them, mushed them into the ground, and rightfully celebrated the fact.
Check out rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. react after driving the 3T into the ground on this block. The fist pump that tells you he knows he did his job.
Or Kevin Dotson with probably the best vertical of his life after Najee Harris leapt over the goal line for the score.
This is a fired up and wired up group. It’s been a long time coming. A brand new O-line who struggled mightily out of the gate. A unit that worked and worked and worked only to fail on Sunday’s over and over again. They needed time, they needed patience, they needed to come together. Not only have they seen that light at the end of the tunnel, they’re out the other side. All that work is finally paying off, the fruits of their labor being rewarded. The Steelers can finally run the football. This was the organization’s plan, this was their risk, and now they’re reaping the reward.
It’s no secret offensive lines would rather run block than pass pro. The latter can be physical and aggressive but not like the former. Nothing is better, as the saying goes, than moving a man Point A to Point B against his will. That’s what gets those big guys up front excited. To a man, the Steelers did that Sunday. All five had pancakes in that game. All five played with an edge, with confidence, with the feeling they were going to get the job done. And nothing was going to stop them.
They’ve got their swagger back.
The Steelers have their season back.