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HomeUncategorizedSteelers rely on Najee Harris, ground game in victory over Ravens

Steelers rely on Najee Harris, ground game in victory over Ravens


In the week leading up to the regular-season finale on Saturday, Najee Harris had stated that the Pittsburgh Steelers anticipated depending on the running game.

After the game, a reporter described the Steelers’ offense as reliant on Harris’ performance.

“It’s not the first time that’s occurred,” Harris matter-of-factly stated after his stellar performance in the 17-10 win.

Factually, that statement is not entirely accurate. Throughout his three-year career, Harris had never received more than 30 touches in a game. However, he managed 31 touches – 26 carries and five receptions – amassing 133 yards from scrimmage, leading all players in the game.

Harris has only had more carries in an NFL game on two occasions, with one of those instances being last week when he carried the ball 27 times for 122 yards in a 30-23 victory against the Seattle Seahawks. Harris set a new career high for carries over a two-game span (53) and secured the second-highest rushing yards he has produced over a consecutive two-game span as a professional (234).

“We were aware of the game plan going into the game, we knew the weather forecast and we knew exactly the type of game it was going to be: physical,” Harris alluded to the steady rain and cold wind the teams played in all evening Saturday.

Even though Baltimore rested many regulars, most of its starting front seven played significant snaps. Nevertheless, the Steelers’ 155 rushing yards were the second-most allowed all season by a Ravens defense that came in ranked a respectable 12th in the league, allowing an average of 106.6 rushing yards.

“We aimed to play so physically that if they had played their (starters), we wanted (Ravens coach John Harbaugh) to say, ‘We gotta get them out of there’ because of how physical we were playing,” Harris said. “And I think we did that today.”


Related:

• Steelers hold on against Ravens, hope for help to reach playoffs
• Feats of strength: Mason Rudolph, Diontae Johnson help Steelers outlast Ravens
• ‘It’s not up to us’: Steelers’ playoff fate in hands of AFC foes on final day of regular season


Harris has 312 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in the three games since Mason Rudolph assumed the role of the starting quarterback.

Over the past 10 games, the Steelers have averaged 145.2 rushing yards, a statistic that would rank third in the league over the course of the season.

“Very remarkable,” Rudolph commented on the Steelers’ running game. “(Offensive line coach) Pat Meyer and the offensive line have done an exceptional job of controlling the ball and making my job easier, making our offensive job easier. When you can run the ball like that, especially in these conditions, it makes life a lot easier.”

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive.com or via Twitter .





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