3 reasons Steelers running game is now non-existent

James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Randy Fitchner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Steelers offensive play calling

I’m not the type of person who is going to sit here and blame everything on the coaching staff. This team is 8-0 for the first time in the history of the franchise, and I think all of Pittsburgh’s coaches deserve at least some level of credit. However, Randy Fichtner just isn’t getting the job done in the first half of games.

The Steelers offensive coordinator routinely finds it necessary to run on situations when either the defense knows that it’s coming or when he has no business running. Unlike some of the other good franchises around the league, Pittsburgh does a poor job disguising which plays are going to be a run, and Fichtner has called too many first-down runs this season.

But it’s more than just that. Fichtner has been calling runs on plays the Steelers have no business running the ball. Two plays immediately come to mind against Dallas. The first was a 2nd and 14. After losing yards on a pattened Fichtner running back screen pass, the team attempted to run on second and 14 – losing yards yet again. This put the Steelers in a 3rd and 16 situations in which they were content just dumping the ball underneath.

The second play that comes to mind is when Fichtner called the exact same draw to Anthony McFarland on both 3rd and 4th down. Both yielded the same result. I’m not saying that Fichtner needs to be fired right away, but his conservative first-half play-calling has been holding the Steelers back.