Steelers guard Isaac Seumalo has won the NFL’s Way to Play Award in Week 9, the NFL announced on Thursday. Seumalo is the second Steelers player to win the award this season, after Cole Holcomb won that award for his hit against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.
The play in question that Seumalo won the award for came on Najee Harris’ touchdown. Seumalo executed a textbook pull on one back power, not leading with his head and instead playing through his hands and body. His ability to play through his hands is not only textbook, but he does not engage with the crown of his helmet at all, leading to the praise for this block.
A textbook example of how to run 1-back power from the gun on Harris' opening drive TD.
-James Daniels burries the 3T
-Isaac Seumalo bodies the PSLB
-Broderick Jones climbs to the 2nd level for the BSLB
Nice finish from 22. Pretty ball. pic.twitter.com/8xWK1OLqNk
— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) November 3, 2023
As a result of the play, Seumalo wins a $5,000 equipment grant that can be awarded to a program at the high school or youth level of his choice. It highlights the safety that players can make when making big hits on opposing players. It’s a nice award for someone like Seumalo, whose play has improved over the last few weeks. He proved to be a key cog for why Pittsburgh could break open their run game against a talented Titans front. His play illustrates one of the critical changes they made in the game, which was to feature more pulling guards.
All in all, the team finished averaging 5.5 yards per carry on 30 rushes for 166 yards with multiple explosive runs. You can attribute that to the addition of Broderick Jones, but one man alone did not change what happened on Thursday on the ground. Left tackle Dan Moore Jr. talked about simplifying the run game, with less minutiae, and a lot of that came down to using the group’s athleticism and getting them moving on pulls.
“Yea, we went in there wanting to run what we did well,” Moore said. “Just kind of just narrowing down our list of runs and kind of getting to our bread and butter. It was really just pounding that and dressing it up to make it look a little bit different. Some of that was pulling guys in space.”
If you asked the Steelers’ running backs, they would not hesitate to tell you who were the reasons the ball ended up going forward on those run plays. Harris credited his offensive line and handed them an imaginary game ball. Warren echoed similar sentiments.
“Shoutout to the offensive line,” Harris said. “They were a huge reason why we won the game. The holes they created were huge. We moved the ball well because of the game. They played great.”
Pittsburgh will now hope that they can continue that success on the ground, and they believe that the success is repeatable, even against a talented Packers front.