Najee Harris might not be the fastest or most explosive running back in football but he knows how to run angry. So it’s no surprise to see him among the finalists for NFL Network Kyle Brandt’s “Angry Run” of 2022. A weekly award, Harris now has a chance to have bragging rights for the entire offseason.
The particular run that got him the nod was his stiff-arm against the Atlanta Falcons’ safety Richie Grant in Week 13, bouncing him off the turf like a basketball. Here’s a look at Harris’ angriest run.
Grant, by the way, isn’t a lightweight corner. He’s a big and physical safety known for his run defense and Harris discarded him like it was nothing. Harris had an overall strong performance against the Falcons, rushing for 86 yards and averaging over five yards per carry in a 19-16 Steelers’ win. It summed up Harris’ far better second half of the season, looking healthy and running to his frame and power. After the bye, Harris’ yards per rush increased by roughly a yard and he and Jaylen Warren teamed up for the most run-focused ground game in football.
In his nomination, an energetic Brandt recapped the play.
“Najee, did you really have to do this? Is this entirely necessary? This is a 4-7 team against a 5-7 team and he is not playing around.”
All tongue-in-cheek from Brandt who is as big a fan of powerful runs as anyone in football. Brandt also poked a little fun of Harris’ less-than-enthusiastic photo after winning that week’s Angry Run scepter.
Harris finished his sophomore season crossing the 1,000-yard plateau in the regular season finale. Generally, it’s not a noteworthy achievement for running backs but at the bye, Harris was nowhere near on track of hitting that mark. His role was reduced and he no longer served as the team’s workhorse back, splitting time with Warren, who served as the primary third-down back and saw his early-down role increase throughout the year.
Though the offense should open up more next year, hopefully with hot routes, the Steelers’ focus will still be centered around Harris and the ground game.
The Angry Run of the Year will be announced on Thursday right before NFL Honors. He’ll be competing with Tampa Bay’s Rachaad White and Houston’s Dameon Pierce to win the award.