What the Steelers must do to defeat the 49ers in week 3
The Steelers can win if offensively…
“This football offensive concept processes a ball being handed off to a member of the backfield and sometimes other skill players…“What is, running the ball?”
Geez, I feel like a broken record. To start this, we will look at the lack of a ground game. In other pieces, I highlighted the concerning lack of ground game. Though against the Seahawks things went better with 81 yards rushing total, it still wasn’t enough to establish balance. This week it will be even more critical to create an effective ground attack.
The Steelers will have to help their young quarterback with runs that pick up 4 to 6 yards a play. A lot of ground attack calls have seen runs go outside via counters, sweeps, and belly concepts in the first two weeks. They will have to run in between the tackles and establish dominance along the line. East and west runs simply aren’t winning consistently through two weeks of the year.
A ground game of this caliber will set Rudolph in more comfortable 3rd down situations. The 49ers have a pass rush that has racked up 7 sacks (T-6th) through two weeks. The Steelers have the 26th ranked 3rd down offense converting only 26% so far per NFL.com stats. This will have to improve to help their defense.
With an effective ground game creating 2nd/3rd and short to manageable situations, this will open the passing attack. With Juju Smith-Schuster on pace for over 80 receptions and 1300 yards, the focus will be on eliminating his presence in the passing game. This will open up the opportunity for Rudolph to replicate his long bombs to none other than James Washington.
If there is any benefit to this sudden change in quarterback, it could be Washington reigniting his college teammate’s chemistry in the passing game. A balanced attack that enables Rudolph to take advantage of the defense will be crucial for the offense against the NFL’s 8th ranked scoring defense.