The word came down last weekend that Art Rooney II wants to run more effectively in the redzone and in games in which the Steelers have the lead. Here is what Rooney II told Scott Brown in a recent interview. “We need to be better at running the football. We were not consistently good at running the football this year, and I think that was a problem, and it’s certainly something that traditionally has been one of the foundations of the team and we need to get back to that. We need to be able to run the ball to be successful. Some of or troubles in the red zone this year, I think, can be traced to that and some of our troubles holding leads this year can be traced to that. It’s an area of our offense our game that we need to be better at and more consistent at than we were this year.”
Below are the stats for the Steelers running the ball in the redzone and in the 4th quarter in situations were they had the lead. The rushing stats are running back stats only. The total amount of total plays in these situations does not include sacks or penalties. I can guarantee these stats are not 100% correct, but very close based on my stats mining methods. The stats also include plays run on 1st through 4th down with 10 or less yards to go.
As you can see in the first chart dedicated to the redzone, the Steelers averaged only 2.02 yards per carry on runs by a running back in the redzone. This ranked 29th in the league using the stats. The Steelers also ran only 45% of the time in these situations as well. Both of these stats go hand in hand as the faith in the running game in the redzone probably led to wanting to pass more in these situations as the year wore on.
The second chart shows were perhaps the Steelers did not run enough in 4th quarters of games in situations where they held any type of lead. The Steelers averaged 4.23 yards per carry by running backs in these situations which was good for 12th in the league. On the flip side, they only ran 64% of the time in these situations.
One interesting thing to point out in both of these charts is that the 2009 Buffalo Bills had a better yards per carry by running backs in both of these situations. The Bills offensive line was coached by new Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler. Kugler got this accomplished with a patch worked offensive line that saw 9 different starting combinations in 2009 that saw only the center starting all 16 games at his regular spot.
In conclusion, you can see the beef that Rooney has. I suspect that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will be instructed to run more in these situations and Kugler will be charged with getting the most out of the linemen in these two situations. You could also see the Steelers bring a true fullback into the plan with less 3 wide receiver sets.
Running Back Stats In Redzone
Running back Stats In 4th Quarter With Lead