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Steelers Running Game Off To Worst Two Game Start In Franchise History


If you thought the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a poor start last year running the football, the start of the 2013 season is even worse. In fact, the Steelers 75 yards rushing after two games is the worst it has ever been in the history of the franchise.

In 2012, the Steelers had 141 yards rushing after the first two games of the season, and that looks good compared to the start of this season.

The Steelers worked all offseason on installing the outside-zone blocking scheme, but I don’t think they have used it more than eight times in their first two games. It’s not hard to speculate that when the running backs have carried the football all of 25 times.

In the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, the lack of a running game could somewhat be blamed on the early loss of center Maurkice Pouncey to a knee injury which resulted in Kelvin Beachum, who was supposed to see a lot of snaps as a second tight end during the game, being moved to center. In addition, the team was without the services of fullback Will Johnson, who dressed but did not play because his hamstring was not 100%.

In the loss Monday night to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers had both Beachum and Johnson at their disposal, but barely used either. After running the ball eight times during the first 15 plays of the game, the Steelers running backs only carried the ball six more times the rest of the way despite the team never trailing more than seven points through the first three quarters.

One designed run Monday night, an end around to Jerricho Cotchery on 2nd and 8, lost five yards. Cotchery’s last run prior to that was in 2011, and it resulted in a three yard gain, and it was his only carry of the year. Let’s hope his carry Monday night was his last for this season.

Until rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is healthy, the Steelers are stuck with what they have and there is no reason to think the running game will improve if they continue doing what they are doing. Abandoning the run early like they did Monday night will only make matters worse as it makes the offense predictable beyond belief.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • chris ward

    Yeah I didn’t get the reverse call to Jericho Cotchery. If your going to call a reverse, at least give it to one of your fast receivers.

  • NW86

    Yep, and everyone talks about Bell coming back to fix the running game. He certainly won’t make it any worse, but he’s not Barry Sanders either. If the blocking doesn’t get any better, the running game isn’t going to be much of a factor, with or without Bell.
    That said, all hope isn’t lost. This is still a young OL with a new scheme, and our Center just came in off the street and is learning the playbook. Will Johnson is still coming back to 100%, and Heath will help matters too when he comes back. Hopefully all these things can work together to improve over the next few weeks, or else we are all in for a long season.

  • Crazy Bone

    I know this is hard for a lot of you to accept, but the talent along the OL is not good. The can’t run because the OL stinks. This is exactly why Arians did not run the ball (and the fans and Rooney ran him out of town). I don’t know how Colbert evaluates OL, but it needs to change. The starting tackles are maybe the worst in the league. Adams is a weed head who is lazy and inconsistent. This was obvious when he was at OSU. He lied to the Steelers and yet Colbert says he put him back on his draftable list after an interview…the old Steelers would have never drafted him.
    The roster (see OL) is just void of playmakers and talent. Hopefully a 4-12 type season will allow this team to start to replenish the roster. The Steelers only got Ben because they had a losing record the year before.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The playcalling is just plain horrendus. Pretty soon he will be writing on a napkin that the Chiefs and Steelers suck.

  • Yukon

    Great O’ fence ya built there Todd. Can someone please fire this man now.

  • MP34

    Imagine if we had Bruce Arians with this O-line, no reliable TE, no reliable RB, and no deep threat yet to emerge? We’d be putting up 3 points a game, and we’d still have Ben telling us about how “this offense is posed to breakout.”
    People need to get a grip. This whole offense is unfortunately a work-in-progress until a number of things & people either return, or sort themselves out. Get Heath back, bench Gilbert for Beachum, and the RB situation will likely improve.

  • TheBlitz

    Why was Felix Jones taken out of the running game in the second half !?
    Can someone please explain that to me ??

    The guy had 10 carries for 37 yards during Redman’s absence. That’s almost 4 yards a pop! This running back by committee is horrific!!

    Felix is no feature back but at least he got things going in the 1st half. Redman should have remained on the side line

  • JPDQ

    I said the same thing in an earlier post… you can’t just abandon the run when it’s a one possession game. Ben was clearly not sharp last night, either, which didn’t help matters. Felix might’ve got a little something going, but Redman is not the guy to be our “feature” back.

    You ever kick an ant hill and watch the chaos unfold? There’s your 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • rizzo29

    They had over a year to work things out,and things are getting worse

  • Weiss Chad

    I read something today that said alex smith kc has more rushing yards than steelers.Atleast its not peyton manning :(

  • Tom Savastano

    Agreed, Redman is a backup at best.. If hes your starter, your team better be solid at all other aspects on O..which were not.. I really hope they turn things around but its not looking good..

  • Mike Carroll

    Totally agree. Jones was serviceable, while Redman is struggling to be a backup at this point.

  • MP34

    Arians had 5 seasons, and we never saw the huge production as promised. I was an admitted Arians-basher, now… I think the line is/has been a huge culprit and I’m starting to question some of Ben’s decisions, albeit, he has little room for error behind that line.

  • schlong

    Bet we wish we would have rolled the dice on Bradshaw.

  • cencalsteeler

    Redman is stopping at the point of contact. He’s not running through his opponent, he’s simply preparing himself to get hit. Is this a mental thing? He is more worried about fumbling than running the rock. Tomlins doghouse approach has changed his running style for the worse.
    The stable of backs other than Bell are not starter caliber backs IMO. Dwyer was out there for the taking, but not one team bit on him, not ONE team! Felix Jones has bounced around the league and was eventually cut by the Eagles. Now, he is our feature back? That alone should paint the picture of how bad our rb situation is up to this point!

  • bgsteelfan

    Yeah. Redman’s thing has always been that his legs never stop moving. This year… they stop moving.

    Jones is a change of pace back, but he needs to compliment a feature runner, not be the feature runner.

  • Dan

    There were so many wonderful plays last night, I almost forgot about that one. Gee thanks.

  • Dan

    Bell is coming in to a tough situation. Nobody is playing well and he will be expected to fix everything, but it’s unlikely he’ll turn everything around by himself (maybe if Miller comes back around the same time and Wheaton comes on strong, things will start clicking). Hope it doesn’t mess with his head.

  • Curtis

    I would like to see us reach out to Max Starks for some offensive line help.

  • mem359

    I’m curious why the RB who had a 100 yard game last year against the Bengals only got a single rushing attempt, while Redman (2 fumbles last week, clock rung to start this game) had more carries.

    I understand that Dwyer is in Tomlin’s doghouse, but at some point, if they refuse to use him regardless of the circumstances, why is he taking up a roster space? (Steelers stopped running the ball in the 2nd half, so they should be able to operate without an emergency RB.)

  • Armando DeLeon

    The OL cannot pass block or run block. I am begining to think there was a reason why David De Castro slipped to us in the draft. David’s strength is pulling not going mano a mano with Geno Adkins. Both Foster and De Castro are both finesse guards which I fear are not going to be able to cut it long term. The same goes for Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert. Their pass blocking skills are bad. In addition, the Steelers do not have a #1 running back, #1 wide receiver, or #1 TE on the field. The jury is still out on Le Veon Bell and Heath Miller still needs to return. Defenses are not having to game plan for the lack of talent and explosive players on the field. A 7th round draft pick in Dwyer and an unrafted player in Redman are not going to get it done running the ball. Kevin Colbert should share the blame. We have a 7th rounder playing ILB in Williams and an undrafted player in Kion Wilosn sharing duties as ILB. I expect someone on the offensive linemen to get benched and I can see Marcus Wheaton replacing Cotchery. On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers and Raiders are the only team not to force a turnover.

  • cencalsteeler

    I agree that Dwyer gives our offense more potential of making plays than Redman. I fear Tomlin has psychologically ruined Redmans style of play and he is no longer even a serviceable short yardage back.
    The Steelers game plan changed resulting in a heavy dose of pass plays. Therefore, Dwyer just didn’t get his number called. I don’t think it was a matter of picking on Dwyer, for Beachum never played te much, or Will Johnson didn’t see much action as well.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Right now Jones is the best option…he avg. 3+ yds per carry when did he get rushing attempts…that’s a functional running game projected over 20 carries. I’ve said before, if Bell hits the hole like Jones does, the running game will be okay…if he doesn’t then Colbert has to be on thin ice as does Haley.

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