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‘We Want To Be A Balanced Offense:’ Pickett On Having Consistent Run Game

Last Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers had their best offensive game to date, and a big part of that was due to how successful their run game was. The Steelers threw the ball only 30 times, tied for second least on the season, and had their highest time of possession of the season at 38:56. The low amount of passes and high time of possession was a signal that the team was running the ball successfully and controlling the game. Pittsburgh ran the ball 43 times, creating a very balanced attack. 

Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett spoke to the media today and discussed how having such a balanced attack not only helps him, but also the whole offense. 

“We want to be a balanced offense and I think with how our system is and the way things balance off each other, it’s great to have that balance” explained Pickett via Steelers.com. “When you’re one dimensional, it makes you a lot easier to stop.”

With Pickett under center, the Steelers have not had too many opportunities to be that balanced offense. In two of those games, against the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh got behind big early and had to try and pass their way back into the game. Against the Miami Dolphins the Steelers trailed the entire night and their run game never got going, and against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pickett excited the game early in the third quarter.

Even in that game against the Buccaneers which the Steelers won, despite having a balanced attack in the sense they only threw the ball one more time than they ran it, it was not successful. Against the Bucs, the Steelers averaged 2.7 yards per carry leading to it not being a threat in that game. 

However, in last Sunday’s victory over the Saints it caused serious problems for the Saints and in turn opened up some deeper passes. Pittsburgh ran the ball at a five-yard clip which helped them rush for 217 yards. 

If the Steelers are going to be successful the rest of this season they need the rushing game to be a threat so they can be balanced. Balance does not just mean in attempts, but also in success. If the Steelers are not successful in running the football, teams won’t have to sell out to stop it, which in turn can limit the effectiveness of play action. When the Steelers were not successful running the football, teams knew if they stopped the pass they would win. Now, after Sunday’s performance against the Saints, that may have changed.

Looking forward, this Sunday the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that limited Pittsburgh to 75 yards on the ground and 3.4 yards per carry. With the Bengals good defensive front and pass rush, it will be important to have that balance this week so Pickett can have more space down the field to throw due to the Bengals needing to bring more defenders into the box. 

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