The fact the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run game is showing signs of life in its two games since the bye week isn’t a coincidence. According to Najee Harris, it’s something the Steelers heavily worked on during their Week 9 bye. Now, they’re reaping the rewards and hope to carry that forward the rest of the season.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Harris outlined the time the team took to get its ground attack going.
“It’s something we focused on in the bye week,” he said as shared by The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “All of us took that week…to really focus on that. That was a big emphasis we tried to focus on. I think all of us took that to heart.”
In the first game after the bye, the Steelers rushed for a whopping 217 yards. Not only was that easily their season-high but it was their first 200+ yard rushing performance since 2016, breaking the team’s longest such drought in franchise history. They followed it up with a 102-yard performance in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. They’ve done it without putting the load on just one player. Harris, of course, has been the team’s leading rusher, but he hasn’t hit 100 yards in either of those games. Instead, rookie Jaylen Warren has continued to run well while QB Kenny Pickett has effectively used his legs, giving Pittsburgh an element they haven’t had in decades.
While there’s still work to do, Harris likes the course the run game is on.
“We’re going in the right direction.”
The Colts’ run defense is a relatively stingy group, 2nd-best in the league allowing just 3.8 yards per carry. In last week’s narrow loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis held the Eagles relatively in check, containing their high-flying run game to just 4.2 yards per carry and containing them to just 17 total points. The Colts boast a talented defensive line led by former first round pick DeForest Buckner with great size, length, and pass rushing ability.
Pittsburgh will need its run game to continue the pace its on if they want to avoid a 3-8 start. Four times prior in team history the Steelers began a year 3-7. Never have they dropped to 3-8.