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Expect Steelers To Use Blount Force When Leading In Fourth Quarter


Over the course of the last two seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a lead in the fourth quarter in 17 of the 32 games that they have played. While they did manage to win 14 of those games, they weren’t able to run the ball effectively in those situations. In fact, when you remove the kneel downs, they only managed 3.02 yards a carry.

This past offseason, running back LeGarrette Blount was signed during free agency and one would think that Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans on using him quite a bit in the fourth quarter of games that the team is leading in. Why? Because since he came into the league, Blount has proven to be very effective in those situations.

Dating back to 2010, there have 83 running backs that have carried the football with the lead in the fourth quarter of games more than 30 times and Blount’s 5.5 average yards per carry in those situations ranks him fourth on that list of players behind only Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray. Not only that, Blount has never fumbled during any of those 104 carries, according to Pro Football Reference.

Having a player like Blount, who can come into games late and produce when defenses expect the run will also save some wear and tear on starter Le’Veon Bell, who during his rookie season averaged a dismal 2.32 yards per carry on his 37 fourth quarter runs with the Steelers leading on the scoreboard.

This all adds up to the Steelers using a lot of “Blount force” in the fourth quarter of games when they are winning in 2014.

2010-2013 4th Quarter Running Back Stats With Lead (Min 31 Rushes)

PLAYER RUSH YDS AVG TD
Jamaal Charles 114 685 6.01 2
LeSean McCoy 149 842 5.65 4
DeMarco Murray 56 309 5.52 0
LeGarrette Blount 104 572 5.50 5
Donald Brown 58 294 5.07 3
Isaac Redman 54 271 5.02 2
Justin Forsett 43 215 5.00 2
Kendall Hunter 91 449 4.93 4
Adrian Peterson 115 562 4.89 3
Darren Sproles 36 176 4.89 1
Ahmad Bradshaw 114 543 4.76 3
Joique Bell 40 190 4.75 2
Willis McGahee 84 388 4.62 2
Jason Snelling 51 231 4.53 2
Doug Martin 75 338 4.51 4
Ricky Williams 63 284 4.51 3
Ben Tate 59 263 4.46 1
Chris Johnson 150 657 4.38 3
Ryan Mathews 142 617 4.35 4
Mike Tolbert 84 363 4.32 5
Beanie Wells 44 189 4.30 2
Reggie Bush 85 365 4.29 2
Chris Ivory 81 346 4.27 1
Matt Forte 155 662 4.27 0
Frank Gore 152 645 4.24 5
Jackie Battle 66 279 4.23 5
Darren McFadden 79 334 4.23 1
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 207 871 4.21 7
Stevan Ridley 121 507 4.19 6
Javon Ringer 32 134 4.19 0
Brandon Jacobs 47 196 4.17 2
Michael Turner 130 536 4.12 5
Fred Jackson 85 349 4.11 1
Danny Woodhead 44 178 4.05 0
Arian Foster 170 685 4.03 6
Michael Bush 129 518 4.02 5
Brandon Bolden 32 128 4.00 1
Mark Ingram 74 295 3.99 2
Lamar Miller 33 131 3.97 1
Shonn Greene 120 475 3.96 5
Bernard Pierce 52 206 3.96 0
James Starks 96 378 3.94 1
C.J. Spiller 45 177 3.93 2
Marshawn Lynch 160 624 3.90 7
Peyton Hillis 74 282 3.81 2
Alfred Morris 74 277 3.74 4
Vick Ballard 36 133 3.69 0
Tashard Choice 40 147 3.68 1
Jonathan Dwyer 55 202 3.67 0
Bernard Scott 35 128 3.66 1
Robert Turbin 55 201 3.65 0
Ronnie Brown 51 185 3.63 0
Jonathan Stewart 68 240 3.53 0
Cedric Benson 61 215 3.52 2
Jahvid Best 31 109 3.52 1
Pierre Thomas 90 316 3.51 4
Thomas Jones 75 260 3.47 3
Ray Rice 191 660 3.46 6
Shane Vereen 39 135 3.46 2
Maurice Jones-Drew 93 320 3.44 2
Montee Ball 44 149 3.39 1
Bilal Powell 51 172 3.37 3
Jacquizz Rodgers 53 174 3.28 0
Knowshon Moreno 89 291 3.27 1
DeAngelo Williams 97 316 3.26 3
Eddie Lacy 37 120 3.24 0
Toby Gerhart 51 164 3.22 1
Trent Richardson 65 207 3.18 2
Montario Hardesty 31 98 3.16 0
Andre Brown 36 113 3.14 1
Anthony Dixon 76 237 3.12 5
Ronnie Hillman 50 155 3.10 2
Steven Jackson 112 331 2.96 0
Jacob Hester 33 97 2.94 1
Ryan Grant 38 111 2.92 2
Marion Barber 47 136 2.89 1
Daniel Thomas 68 194 2.85 1
Rashard Mendenhall 116 323 2.78 3
John Kuhn 40 108 2.70 3
Felix Jones 37 91 2.46 1
Kahlil Bell 38 90 2.37 0
Le’Veon Bell 37 86 2.32 0
Alex Green 31 53 1.71 0

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About Dave Bryan

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

    if redman is so bad

    why is he sixth on this list?

    where is he now?

  • dgh57

    That’s kinda what I thought that it would be ground and pound time if we had a lead in the 4th quarter. Opponents better hope we don’t have a lead at that time!

  • dgh57

    Fumbleitis did him in!

  • ATL96STEELER

    Maybe they can be, but this is not a pile driving type OL…we shouldn’t get prepped for an old school ground and pound type game in the 4th Qtr…what I hope for is a ground game that’s strong enough that 3rd n 1 or 2, in the 4Q doesn’t automatically mean Ben in shotgun.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Redman was slow getting to the hole, but if he got to the hole untouched…he could get you a yard just about everytime, and was tough on the 2nd level defenders…but too often he was not getting to the hole untouched.

  • PA2AK

    better question…if he was so good….where is he now?

  • PA2AK

    This seems a little more realistic to me as well. With the skill sets, hopefully improved technique and understanding (due to time and Munch), and the type of blocking scheme…we’re more likely to see a tired defense from having to run and chase while defending the zone scheme….not from getting brutalized.

  • cencalsteeler

    If I was Haley, I’d put Blount, Bell and Heyward in a wishbone formation on short yardage and goal line situations. How can you defend that? The D stacks the box, you pitch outside to Bell. The D lines up honest, you run it up the gut with Heyward lead blocking for Blount.

  • RASTA

    I truly hope that we actually see Blount in on 1st downs this season as his avg. is incredible there, then bring Bell in for 2nd downs, and if we are still short, then add Dri in the backfield w/ Bell on 3rd downs; then bring Blount back in for the 1st down 5-6 yard carry again and the heavier RB-focused tackling of that down, and save on Bell’s wear and tear throughout the season that way. Then of course let Blount finish them off in the 4th quarter when we have leads. Just my ideal scenario imho. Go Steelers!

  • Deuce22

    Get Archer out there somehow too!

  • PA2AK

    Would be an interesting way to do it. Might work too. I’m more of the mind that I’d rather have Bell work into a grove. I just think he is and will be a much better player than any RB we have on the roster right now. I like having blount and dri to take some carries off his shoulders…but bell is the ticket.

  • ManRayX

    Pardon my ignorance or inattention (perhaps due to liberal use of adult beverages during games combined with senility), but was Heyward used as a blocker at some point last year? Was this a typo. . .Will Johnson as part of the wishbone, perhaps?

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