4 statistical categories Steelers must improve upon in 2021
By Andrew Falce
While the Steelers fielded a competitive team in 2020, these four stats will need to be improved upon if the team wants to remain competitive in 2021.
The Steelers started off the 2020 season on an impressive 11-game win streak, something this team had never accomplished before. The defense was playing at an elite level while the offense was moving the ball through a short but effective passing game. Unfortunately, teams figured them out and as a result, they only won one game. Everything culminated in a playoff loss against the Browns. This roster has gotten slightly worse this offseason, but if they can improve upon these four stats, the Steelers could remain competitive.
Steelers rushing yards per attempt
The classic yards per carry doesn’t tell the entire story of a rushing unit, but in the case of the Steelers, it does demonstrate just how effective the running game was in 2020. As a whole, this team averaged a meager 3.6 yards per carry amongst their running back. While the standard “4.0 yards per carry” metric isn’t true (think back to Jerome Bettis’s famous five carries, one yard, and three touchdowns game), a 3.6 average for a team is underwhelming.
Going into the season, this figure should improve some with Najee Harris taking on the role as bell-cow back. He averaged a healthy 5.8 yards per carry last season. The issue may be what the line does for him, but assuming he can make some plays on his own, this stat line should trend well into the 4.0-4.5 yards per carry range. That doesn’t mean the Steelers run game will be fixed, as successful run rates will be more critical to the success of the offense as a whole, but getting this run game to at least an average level will require that yards per carry number to increase.