The Steelers want a run-heavy approach to their game against the Raiders. Tony Dungy, who was the head coach when a young Mike Tomlin came up as a defensive backs coach, said he talked to Tomlin before the game, and the team intends to run the football and run it a lot against the Raiders.
So far, Pittsburgh’s run game has not turned out. Either they have ended up too far behind to take advantage of a potential opening in the run game, or the offensive line missed too many blocks. The Steelers players felt the run game was close throughout the week but couldn’t break through because of one missed assignment. That could be from the offensive line, tight ends, receivers, or the running backs.
Pittsburgh has produced a few explosive plays on the ground, but nearly all came because Harris made magic happen. The team has to figure something out there, and the Raiders are one of the worst run-defending teams in the NFL. If the Steelers can not turn the run game on now, they may never do it. Maxx Crosby remains a game wrecker in the run and passing game, but until the Steelers prove they can take advantage of weakness up front like the Raiders’ interior defensive line, the run game can not be trusted.
Given Pittsburgh’s ability to run the ball at the end of last year, they have looked to capture that magic yet again but have failed to do so despite upgrades along the front. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada must rely on his running game to help out a struggling Kenny Pickett and their passing offense. Without Diontae Johnson, creating big plays through the air became more complex. Yet, Pittsburgh has to move the ball after averaging only 9.5 points on offense through two games.