Film Room: Roosevelt Nix Runs Through Chiefs

I think it’s fair to say that the most unfortunate byproduct of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ struggles in the running game this season prior to Sunday’s contest is the fact that it had essentially deprived us of highlights featuring fullback Roosevelt Nix.

But that changed in Kansas City amidst an active and aggressive strategy committed to running the football, especially early in the game, and late—though in the early portions of the game, they did so primarily out of 11 and 12 looks, with much of Nix’s playing time devoted to closing out the night.

And the funny thing is—well, at least I find it amusing—that his first ‘highlight’ of the day actually came on a passing play. in the middle of the second quarter, with the offense backed up at their own one, they set up out of the 22 personnel as though they were going to run.

Of course, they didn’t. Vance McDonald recorded his first reception of the season for 26 yards, but that didn’t stop Nix from committing to selling his run block up the middle. While he remained composed because overaggressiveness could open up a rushing lane, you can see his typical demeanor here.

Pretty much the rest of the highlights come in the fourth quarter, and they start with the Steelers again backed up in their own end. On second and nine, they just shot him up the B Gap, completely levelling off the inside linebacker, sealing him outside of a running lane for a 12-yard gain.

They kept at it on the next play, incorporating a false step left before both Nix and Le’Veon Bell peeled off to the right edge. The fullback sent Marcus Peters spilling to the ground with authority on the perimeter, opening up the right sideline for a 27-yard gain, a season-long.

There were other, longer gains on which he played a less prominent role, but there are still two later plays I want to look at. On a four-yard run on first down one play later, he really did the same thing—just through the opposite gap—as the play two above, sealing off the inside linebacker through the hole.

Later, on the start of the next possession, he met the linebacker through the gap yet again, this time off the right side. Nix let him win the leverage battle, getting lower than the fullback, but that just more easily enabled him to put him on the ground.

I don’t know how he would fare as a fan favorite on some other teams, but in Pittsburgh, the fans remember the power running game quite fondly, and Nix is a throwback in that regard. He is fun to watch, and is only getting better and better as his job in year three.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Ralph Wagner

    Haley has to much talent on this team and he doesn’t know how to take advantage of said talent. Why wouldn’t he use Nix as a fullback in front of Bell at the two yard line, for example? It’s time for Mr. Rooney to once again express to Haley his concern about the poor red zone play. Just say’n

    Go Steelers

  • David Shoff

    Nix imo is a pro bowl fullback. He makes numerous great blocks like this every game when they USE him. The guy is just a road grater.

  • srdan

    That is tough. Similar to Hayward and Tuitt. You need stats, and Nix will struggle to get them.

  • srdan

    hmmmm, on those gifs from our 2 yard line I thought the calls were good.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Extra TE and FB for the run game. Even when the opponents look ready to stop the run. Who knew this might work? Dominate!

  • razaard2

    Definitely has the talent. Lacks only the snaps. Never misses a block

  • razaard2

    Rosie is a marvel to watch. Poor Peter’s
    And to think this guy was a DT at college. Great job by the coaching staff (as they did with Villanueva, Chickillo and to a smaller extent Sean Davis)

  • Steelman72

    Amen, BGB, I was screaming for that this past Sunday. Bring in Nix and an extra TE and blast away inside the 5. Please, no more empty sets with Bell in the slot, you are telling the defense what you are doing!! Seems like play calling 101 to me. We have all seen how Ben struggles once those windows get tighter in the redzone.

  • pittfan

    Just a real hard nosed ballplayer.

  • Paddy

    Yes they must make it difficult so they can say we did it another way.

  • Dorian James

    Good things usually happen when Rosie is in the game. I’ve been calling for this all season

  • John Westbrook

    Cut moats, bring back David Johnson. Great run blocker

  • Mark

    I think the run game is the best with Nix and Vance in the game. Much better blockers.

  • sixnine

    Not really..history shows that when a running back or running game puts up big season numbers, the fb on that team normally makes it without big stats..everyone knows that position is graded by effectiveness not big stats

  • Matt

    Rosie Nix is the most underrated player on the roster. Guy is a phenomenal blocker and great on special teams. If he could catch balls out of the backfield he would be the man.

    And to think he only gets 615k per year.

  • nutty32

    Derrick Johnson was owned all day; didn’t even want to play football anymore by the end.

  • Steve

    Got that right. For once, would like to see Jessie knock the Tar out of somebody instead of standing around after running 30 yards.

  • Rocksolid20

    Wish I only got 615k per year !

  • MC

    I watch Nix everytime he is out there and I don’t think I’ve seen him whiff on a block yet. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so excited mid play to make a block either, hence why I love the guy. His intensity for blocks and hits on special teams is just what this team needs.
    Haley, give this guy more snaps and draw up a play where he catches a ball in the end zone after faking a block, he deserves a TD to his name.

  • capehouse

    27 yard run is so nice I don’t even mind that it’s posted twice lol.

  • LucasY59

    I was most impressed by Nix’s hit on Hill on that last PR, I was worried Tyreek the freak was about to break it and then Rosie broke him instead

    …the run blocking is good as well

  • Matt

    hahaha Very true!!!