On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the practice facility to prep for this week’s upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens after winning their second-straight game in Atlanta on Sunday 19-16.
OLB Alex Highsmith was asked about several topics including his take on Pittsburgh’s win in Atlanta and the team’s upcoming matchup with the Baltimore Ravens and the challenge both Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley present regarding QB mobility and being a threat with their legs.
When asked about the importance time of possession has been for the Steelers in recent weeks and the affect it has had on the defense, Highsmith was quick to offer praise to the team’s improvement at sustaining drives and giving the defense a much-needed breather.
“It’s been huge,” Highsmith said to the media on Monday in the locker room on video from Steelers.com. “They’ve done a great job possessing the ball. The way they were just moving the ball yesterday, running the ball was awesome. And so, whenever we’re able to go out there and just them possessing the ball and giving us rest, it’s awesome cause we can be able to go out there and just perform at a high level. And so, I just love seeing the way that they’ve moved the ball the past couple weeks and know they’re going to continue to do that.”
Pittsburgh won the time of possession battle with the Falcons, having the football for 32:55 compared to Atlanta’s 27:05. The previous week, Pittsburgh held the ball for 34 minutes and 22 seconds compared to Indianapolis possessing the ball for 25:38 during the ballgame.
Highsmith nailed it on the head saying that the running game has done a great job giving Pittsburgh more time of possession as the offense has been more efficient on the ground, picking up first downs and eating clock to give the defense a rest on the sidelines. Pittsburgh has become a top ten rushing offense since the bye and has rushed for 326 yards during their two-game winning streak.
While the NFL has become more of a passing league, you see plenty of the top teams going back to running the football down the oppositions’ throats while playing good defense. The Cowboys, Eagles, Titans, 49ers are all among the top teams contending for a playoff berth and boast formidable running games where they win time of possession and wear down opposing defenses. While the Steelers may not be in-position to compete in the post season in 2022, they have seemed to have found the formula to succeed with a young QB and shaky passing game.
With the defense playing better the last two weeks, leaning on the run game has helped Pittsburgh to a 3-1 record since their bye. They will look to keep that same trend going this week against the Ravens at home in what will be another must-win game to keep their postseason aspirations alive.