Steelers run first offense might be better than I thought

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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Let's get more realistic for the Steelers

One of the primary issues with the general study above was the number of offenses that heavily rely on the quarterback run game. Sure, Pickett can make plays on the ground, but he isn’t in the realm of a Lamar Jackson when tasked with running the ball. He will scramble, but he shouldn’t be counted on as a core runner.

I took into account Pickett’s best rushing year at college as well as his results last year extrapolated to a full season to determine that, realistically, Pickett should account for somewhere near 15 percent of the team’s total rushing yards. This will help take out results from teams that feature a more competent running quarterback.

Again, I expected some lackluster numbers, as we have seen the duel-threat quarterback find some success in the league. To my surprise, every stat I was looking at improved once I filtered out offenses that had more than 15 percent of their rushing output come because of the quarterback.

The total offense was now averaged out to 8.25, meaning that, in theory, the Steelers should be looking at a top-ten offense overall. The worst total offense came from the Browns in 2021. While their rushing offense was a top unit, they only mustered up the 20th-best overall offense that year. Adding to that, by eliminating teams that had more than 15 percent of their rushing yards come from their quarterback, only twice has their total offense been in the bottom half of the league.

Wins and losses also significantly improved, as the team would be projected to have 10.5 wins and only 5.85 losses. That is a healthy gain, and it once again indicates that having a top-rushing offense won’t inhibit an offense overall. In total, there have only been three teams in the past five years with losing records that meet these qualifications.

Playoffs also got better, as the team was just shy of averaging a divisional-round playoff record. This means not only would the Steelers be expected to return to the playoffs, but they would also more than likely get their first win in the postseason since 2016.