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Kicking Ass: The Steelers Offense Found Its Identity



Steelers Najee Harris carries the ball as the Steelers played against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now)

The Steelers’ offense has an identity. Coming into the bye week, there was nothing about the Steelers offense that screamed as a constant symbol on film. However, since coming out of that bye week, Pittsburgh, Najee Harris, and the offensive line have found some serious sauce to work with.

The Pittsburgh offense found its identity through an anthem of ass-kicking. What happened throughout that stretch? There are a few things that have allowed the Steelers to really develop that identity that has just allowed them to march down the field via their rushing game.

First off, Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, and you can throw Benny Snell in here, are just a physical running back room that runs with purpose. Harris and Warren especially always run with a brand of physicality that leaves defenders really bruised at the end of the game. When they could run out of bounds, they lower their shoulder. In pass pro, Warren is an absolute warrior and Harris is getting better in that area. That physical backfield sets a tone.

But so does Kenny Pickett. It becomes especially interesting when Pickett is willing to put his body on the line so often. He is tough. Mitch Trubisky is another guy that will put his hand in the pile. There is something to be said about the quarterbacks being willing to get dirty in the pile.

Even more so, players like George Pickens, Zach Gentry, and James Daniels have given the Steelers an identity on offense as a group that will grind out teams and does it happily.  The left side of the offensive line in Kevin Dotson and Dan Moore have their warts but revel in getting dirty and driving defenders into the ground in the running game.

The last time Pittsburgh truly had a physical offense? It was probably 2018. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Le’Veon Bell, Vance McDonald, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, and others wore that physicality on their sleeve. It lead to part of the reason why the Steelers were such effective on offense during that time period.

It doesn’t mean the Steelers are going to magically become a top offense in the future. Maybe they are held back by other factors, but Matt Canada and this group now know where they cut their teeth. They line up against defenses and try to run through their faces. In the second half of the season, it has brought Pittsburgh some quality performances on offense.

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