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Steelers doing more on the ground by doing less

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Redman is pulled down just short of the goal line by New York Giants cornerback Amukamara and strong safety Brown in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford Reuters

It wasn’t necessarily the injuries, or the unsettled line. At some point, the Steelers got back to running the ball well by simply being the Steelers.

After averaging 65 yards per game on the ground over their first three, they’ve averaged 155 rushing yards per game over the last three, and that’s with different backs doing the work.

“You see our running backs, man?” Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It doesn’t matter who you plug in, they run for 100.”

“I want to get back there and play running back, see how many yards I can get,” linebacker Larry Foote added.

While Foote probably won’t get a carry, plenty of other people have. While Rashard Mendenhall can’t stay healthy, Isaac Redman got 147 yards against the Giants and Jonathan Dwyer had 122 yards on the Bengals and 107 on the Redskins.

But the secret was streamlining the offense rather than adding things. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley ditched chapters of the playbook and asked less of his offense, and a three-game win streak speaks to the results.

“I think the key is we’re keeping it simple,” left guard Willie Colon said. “Early in the year, we were doing a little too much maybe. We’re keeping it extremely simple and starting to be repetitive and really owning in to what we’ve got to do.”

“You watch it on film from the beginning of the year to now, and it’s like night and day,” Redman added. “I feel like they (the offensive line) are comfortable, and we’re running strictly runs that we’re pretty good at.”

Doing less rather than more runs counter to every coaching instinct, but in this case, it was clearly the right move.

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9 Responses to “Steelers doing more on the ground by doing less”
  1. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 6, 2012 1:18 PM

    They want to get back to the ground to reaffirm their historical Steeler identity. Being dirty.

  2. tdotsteel says: Nov 6, 2012 1:26 PM

    Somehow, I believe this is a subtle back-handed left hook at Bruce Arians play-calling the last few years.

  3. steelerben says: Nov 6, 2012 1:51 PM

    The Pittsburgh Steelers winning football games with a simple offense that runs the ball well using a big back to open up play action passes to exciting receivers. Where have I heard that before?

    Oh yeah… the ’74-’75, ’75-’76, ’78-’79, ’79-’80, ’05-’06, and ’08-’09 seasons.

  4. oldirtyman says: Nov 6, 2012 1:51 PM

    Nice to see the Steelers linein up and playin a little smash mouth football, haven’t seen it really since The Bus retired

  5. pooflingingmonkey says: Nov 6, 2012 1:59 PM

    I wonder how the Chiefs feel about Todd Haley now?

  6. tsizzleisabizzle says: Nov 6, 2012 2:45 PM

    Bruce Arians got run out of town and the Rooneys were criticized for it. While BA is doing an admirable job in Indy, the Rooneys continue to show why they have the best franchise in all of pro sports. No player is bigger than the team, and hiring Haley looks like a stroke of genius now.

  7. mostlombardisintheleague says: Nov 6, 2012 3:34 PM

    It starts with the line, opening holes for the backs and protecting Ben. We still have DeCastro to build up, and Sean Spence on D next season. Those two could have contributed this season as well. If we can keep these core units for a few more seasons, build and coach up the rookies and continue to draft well, should be contenders for as long as we have Ben.

  8. freedomispopular says: Nov 6, 2012 6:15 PM

    I definitely have to say, after having seen the Steelers a couple times now, I’m noticing the play calling is SO much better.

  9. sudz28 says: Nov 7, 2012 5:53 AM

    Just think of how much better it could be if they would stick with a primary back and knock of this ridiculous ‘running back by committee’ garbage. Of course I realize they have to wait for a single back to be healthy before that can happen.

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