Don’t look now, but Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie running back Najee Harris is on a roll.
After running into a bit of a rookie wall midway through the season coupled with poor offensive line play overall, Harris and the Steelers’ rushing attack seems to have found its stride late in the season. It couldn’t come at a better time for the Steelers, who are fighting for their playoff lives each week.
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. The Alabama product also has a receiving touchdown in the same span, showing off his dual threat abilities out of the backfield.
Thanks to his strong play in back to back weeks, Harris moved up one spot in the Week 15 RB Index, compiled by NFL.com’s Maurice Jones-Drew, a 9-year NFL running back in his own right. Harris’s move up to No. 6 overall slides him ahead of Cleveland’s Nick Chubb in the ranking.
“Remember how good Le’Veon Bell was with the Steelers? Harris just surpassed Bell’s rookie production for the franchise record with 1,270 scrimmage yards, and there’s still four games left to play,” Jones-Drew writes of Harris. “Harris dazzled against the Vikings last week with the first multi-TD game of his career (one rush, one receiving), showing off his versatility in a nationally televised game.”
While it’s nice to read that Harris passed Bell for the franchise record in scrimmage yards, Harris is not on Bell’s level — yet. Remember, Bell did that damage in 13 games after missing the first three games of his rookie season due to injury. I’m not trying to take anything away from Harris whatsoever because he’s playing very well as of late, but that mark isn’t as noteworthy as it may seem.
He’ll obliterate that mark if he stays healthy down the stretch, which is what he was expected to do. Despite some of the struggles overall in the run game from the Steelers, Harris has been the furthest thing from the problem in Pittsburgh. It’s great to see Harris getting some love and respect from a former NFL running back after two really good weeks on the ground and through the air though.