Steelers running game comes alive in win vs Broncos

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Steelers run game had a huge day against Denver. Can they keep it up moving forward?

The Steelers were able to finally get Najee Harris and the run game going in their 27-19 victory over the Denver Broncos, and it was all about committing to it early and sticking with it. They consistently ran the ball on first and often even 2nd down, a huge departure from what we have seen from them so far.

Steelers finally commit to the running game

Pittsburgh came into the game with the fewest attempts (66) and yards (221) on the ground in the entire NFL. For a team that is historically known for its physicality and toughness, it was hard for fans to watch them struggle. Drafting Najee Harris was supposed to help remedy that, but the blocking by the Steelers new offensive line prior to this game was giving him little room to work with.

The blocking wasn’t perfect this week by any means, but it was much better than it had been the first 4 weeks of the season. They gave him enough room to show off his vision and power, consistently finding space and getting north-south to keep the offense moving.

Najee did have a few longer runs sprinkled in but it was the 3 to 5 yards gains that wore down the defense, finishing with 23 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. There were still plays where Harris was hit before he could get going, but they weren’t nearly as frequent as they had been so far.

Unfortunately, he seemed to have calf issues late in the game that forced him to sit out. Assuming he is good to go moving forward though, the offense may finally have an identity.

That was looking more and more unlikely as the weeks went by, but if the offensive line can play like they did today the offense is in for brighter days. It is especially encouraging that they were able to have such a productive day on the ground against a stout Broncos defense. They had just come off the Ravens loss last week barely giving up 100 yards to the most prolific rushing offense in the league.

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It took an infamous play from Baltimore to keep their streak of 100-yard games alive, so it was no easy feat. With Seattle coming up next week for the Steelers, they should have a good chance to repeat their success from today.