After a bit of a rough stretch there in recent weeks, Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back Najee Harris is starting to find his game once again.
Though Harris finding his game hasn’t quite correlated with the Steelers’ offense breaking out of its season-long slump, it’s at least providing something positive to break down the last two weeks.
In back to back weeks against the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings, Harris has rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown on 40 carries, including his second-highest total of the season against the Vikings on Thursday night, tallying 94 yards and the score.
Despite putting up some nice numbers in recent weeks, Harris remains stuck in the back half of the top 10 in NFL.com’s RB Index by former nine-year NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Harris has stayed at No. 7 in the Index for the last five weeks, which shows his staying power at the position moving forward.
“Against a Ravens defense that allowed just one other player to rush for 70-plus yards this season, Harris did his part to help the Steelers beat their division rival by racking up 71 rushing yards on 21 carries and 36 receiving yards on five catches,” Jones-Drew writes of Harris following the win over the Ravens. “This performance — and win — couldn’t have come at a better time.”
The performance against Baltimore couldn’t have come at a better time. Neither could the performance against the Vikings, as Harris had one of his better games this season. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late for Harris and the Steelers, as Pittsburgh waited until late in the third quarter to get much of anything going offensively against a poor Vikings’ defense.
Sitting at No. 7 in the RB Index, Harris is sandwiched by Arizona’s James Conner at No. 6 and San Francisco rookie running back Elijah Mitchell at No. 8. The top five is Indianapolis’s Jonathan Taylor, Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon, Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, Los Angeles’ Austin Ekeler and Tampa Bay’s Leonard Fournette.
Harris sitting at No. 7 feels about right for the Steelers’ rookie at this point, considering the struggles he’s faced on the ground behind a bad Steelers’ offensive line. He has an opportunity to climb the rankings down the stretch against teams like the Titans, Chiefs, Browns and Ravens, who have struggled at times to defend the run this season.