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)

Jamaal Charles1146856.012
LeSean McCoy1498425.654
DeMarco Murray563095.520
LeGarrette Blount1045725.505
Donald Brown582945.073
Isaac Redman542715.022
Justin Forsett432155.002
Kendall Hunter914494.934
Adrian Peterson1155624.893
Darren Sproles361764.891
Ahmad Bradshaw1145434.763
Joique Bell401904.752
Willis McGahee843884.622
Jason Snelling512314.532
Doug Martin753384.514
Ricky Williams632844.513
Ben Tate592634.461
Chris Johnson1506574.383
Ryan Mathews1426174.354
Mike Tolbert843634.325
Beanie Wells441894.302
Reggie Bush853654.292
Chris Ivory813464.271
Matt Forte1556624.270
Frank Gore1526454.245
Jackie Battle662794.235
Darren McFadden793344.231
BenJarvus Green-Ellis2078714.217
Stevan Ridley1215074.196
Javon Ringer321344.190
Brandon Jacobs471964.172
Michael Turner1305364.125
Fred Jackson853494.111
Danny Woodhead441784.050
Arian Foster1706854.036
Michael Bush1295184.025
Brandon Bolden321284.001
Mark Ingram742953.992
Lamar Miller331313.971
Shonn Greene1204753.965
Bernard Pierce522063.960
James Starks963783.941
C.J. Spiller451773.932
Marshawn Lynch1606243.907
Peyton Hillis742823.812
Alfred Morris742773.744
Vick Ballard361333.690
Tashard Choice401473.681
Jonathan Dwyer552023.670
Bernard Scott351283.661
Robert Turbin552013.650
Ronnie Brown511853.630
Jonathan Stewart682403.530
Cedric Benson612153.522
Jahvid Best311093.521
Pierre Thomas903163.514
Thomas Jones752603.473
Ray Rice1916603.466
Shane Vereen391353.462
Maurice Jones-Drew933203.442
Montee Ball441493.391
Bilal Powell511723.373
Jacquizz Rodgers531743.280
Knowshon Moreno892913.271
DeAngelo Williams973163.263
Eddie Lacy371203.240
Toby Gerhart511643.221
Trent Richardson652073.182
Montario Hardesty31983.160
Andre Brown361133.141
Anthony Dixon762373.125
Ronnie Hillman501553.102
Steven Jackson1123312.960
Jacob Hester33972.941
Ryan Grant381112.922
Marion Barber471362.891
Daniel Thomas681942.851
Rashard Mendenhall1163232.783
John Kuhn401082.703
Felix Jones37912.461
Kahlil Bell38902.370
Le’Veon Bell37862.320
Alex Green31531.710

  • 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!


    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.


    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.


    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?