Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Running Blues

"Poor old Otis, dead and gone, 
Left me here to sing his song, 
Pretty little girl 
with the red dress on, 
Poor Old Otis dead and gone." 
— "Running Blues," by  Jim Morrison, presumably invoking Otis Redding

Three of the four teams playing in the NFL Conference Championship games this weekend ranked among the NFL's Top 10 for yardage gained running the ball. They are: San Francisco (No. 3), Seattle (No. 4) and New England (No. 9). The Broncos ranked 15th.

The Steelers ranked 27th.

Although the offensive line seemed to improve as the season progressed, the offensive line could never be counted upon to get a reliable push in the run game. That lack of push hampered the Steelers badly on third-down  attempts and in the red zone.

John Henry Johnson
As noted by by the Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac:
"The Steelers finished 27th in the league in rushing and averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Only the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars averaged fewer yards per carry. Last season, the Steelers were ranked 26th in rushing and averaged 3.7 yards per carry. The Steelers also allowed 43 sacks this season, six more than last season (2012), when Sean Kugler coached the offensive linemen."

And this all points back to an issue we hate to raise, but ... if Bruce Arians was fired and Todd Haley hired to help the Steelers get back to the run and protect Big Ben, those twin objectives have not been attained.

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