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With Run Game Bottled Up, Steelers Finding Ways to Keep Najee Harris Involved

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PITTSBURGH — Rookie running back Najee Harris set a Steelers record with 14 receptions on Sunday, the most in team history by a running back.

But that wasn’t the only way that Harris found his way into the record books for Sunday’s performance.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Harris was targeted 19 times, which was the second-most by any running back since 1950, behind only a 20-target game by New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara in 2018.

Harris also ran a pass pattern a whopping 52 times, the most by any running back since at least 2016, when such data was first collected.

Harris figured to be a big part of the Steelers offense, but a bottled-up running game and a passing attack that has been missing Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster — along with the Steelers trailing — combined to ramp up his participation in the passing game.

“He’s really talented,” offensive coordinator Matt Canada said on Thursday. “Whether it’s the running game or the passing game, we’re going to try to get him the football.”

Harris now leads all running backs with receiving targets (27), receptions (20), and is fourth in receiving yards with 149.

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