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Steelers-Colts: Tale of the Trenches



Steelers OL vs. Colts
Steelers offensive line against the Indianapolis Colts, Dec. 16, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Losing is never fun, especially when a three-game streak puts your playoffs hopes in jeopardy. But that’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the moment on the heels of a brutal 30-13 beat down in which they allowed 30 consecutive points immediately following an early lead. While all of that sounds bad on the surface, the manner in which they lost is even more disturbing. In a game that was most definitely a must-win, the Steelers were thoroughly dominated in the trenches on both sides of the football. 

Pittsburgh doesn’t have a true identity on offense at the moment but the run game has had some moments this season. Coming into the week against a Colts defense that was ranked 29th in rushing success rate, you’d assume that the Steelers would be able to do at least a little bit of damage on the ground. Yet, that’s not what happened. With defensive tackle Grover Stewart back in the lineup, Indy consistently clogged up the rushing lanes up the middle. The Steelers interior lineman- Isaac Seumalo, Mason Cole and James Daniels all struggled to generate any displacement up front, leaving the tailbacks to mostly fend for themselves when looking for breathing room.

At full strength, this Colts front is better than  the numbers would indicate but it’s still not a dominate unit by any stretch of the imagination. Of their 24 designed runs on the day, only six of those were successful. Both backs, Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, combined to average a measly 3.3 yards per carry. Their perimeter run concepts offered a bit more hope but their best run of the day was brought back by a holding. 

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