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Steelers Must Run Better On Early Downs Moving Forward

One thing that is obviously lacking on offense for the Pittsburgh Steelers through the first two games of the 2012 season is the ability to run the ball well on first and second downs.

On first down the running game has produced just 91 yards of offense on 29 carries for a dismal 3.14 yards per attempt. Second down has been even worse as it has produced only 21 yards of offense on 18 rushing attempts with only Jonathan Dwyer having a positive yards per carry number after the first two games of the season.

When you combine both downs together, the Steelers running game has all of 112 yards on 47 carries for a dismal 2.38 yards per carry.

While many will try to point to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley as being predictable on those downs, he actually has been pretty balanced as there have been 23 first down passing plays and 27 second down passing plays through the first two games.

The Steelers offensive line is still trying to gel and consistent running lanes have not been there thus far for the running backs, especially between the tackles. Some of the bigger runs that Dwyer and starter Isaac Redman have had thus far on those downs have been because of their effort to bounce a few of them outside that were initially drawn up to go inside.

Willie Colon is still getting used to life at left guard and the execution of the line as a whole must improve going forward. The Steelers have one of, if not the best, third down quarterbacks currently playing the game right now in Ben Roethlisberger, but they can\’t keep forcing him to play behind the chains moving forward.

Running more successfully on early downs has to be a focus heading into the Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders and it will open up the passing game even more as soon as it is rectified. Hopefully that will be soon.

1ST DOWN RUSH YDS YPR FD TD
Isaac Redman 14 33 2.36 2 1
Chris Rainey 2 11 5.50 0 0
Jonathan Dwyer 12 43 3.58 0 0
Antonio Brown 1 4 4.00 0 0
TOTAL 29 91 3.14 2 1
2ND DOWN RUSH YDS YPR FD TD
Isaac Redman 7 -4 -0.57 0 0
Chris Rainey 1 -2 -2.00 0 0
Jonathan Dwyer 9 28 3.11 2 0
Baron Batch 1 -1 -1.00 0 0
TOTAL 18 21 1.17 2 0
TOTAL 1ST & 2ND 47 112 2.38 4 1
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