Sunday, Najee Harris was Najee Harris once more. If you happen to’ve watched him all season, you recognize precisely what I imply. Whereas he and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run recreation have been a lot improved because the bye, Harris took issues to a distinct stage in yesterday’s win towards the Atlanta Falcons. He seemed totally wholesome and oh man did he run prefer it.
The stats will not be extremely gaudy, 86 yards with a protracted of 14, however Harris created a ton of yards on his personal and ran the way in which he’s speculated to.
Almost half of his yards got here after contact. Whereas the road opened a number of holes, Harris did his half to get greater than what was blocked, the mark of a very good again. He performed to his dimension and energy and routinely saved his legs churning to interrupt tackles and push piles.
Under’s a compilation of a few of his greatest “offended” runs of the day. Early, late, and in between, Harris performed to his full potential.
After all, the “angriest” run of the sport was his imply stiff arm on bodily Falcons’ security Richie Grant. Right here’s one other have a look at that second. At its greatest, his stiff arm is among the many tops in soccer.
If there was any doubt earlier than, Harris’ foot accidents to start out camp and in Week 1 clearly impacted the beginning of his season. Although he and the teaching employees tried to downplay the harm and its affect, Harris by no means seemed something like he did towards the Falcons. For the reason that bye, he’s been more healthy with a bit extra burst and much more energy, now with the leg drive and decrease physique energy to shed would-be tacklers.
It’s helped the staff has rotated him a bit extra with Jaylen Warren and yesterday, Benny Snell, to maintain him contemporary on early downs. Harris now not has workhorse standing, he’s been off third downs since Week 5, and his early down snap rely isn’t as dominant because it was. Sunday, the Steelers used a three-prong strategy. Harris because the starter on first and second downs with Snell spelling him whereas Warren saved his third down duties and wasn’t used a lot on early downs. It’s why he carried the ball simply as soon as. Heck, you would name it a four-prong with Derek Watt changing into a short-yardage possibility, 5/5 on third down makes an attempt this season.
Mike Tomlin’s at all times had an alpha-back mentality. A singular man. That has its advantages but in addition its clear prices. Counting on one man to do the job, sporting him down, and being screwed if (and actually, when) that man will get harm. That’s why the staff moved on from James Conner. Expertise wasn’t the difficulty. He simply couldn’t be trusted being wholesome for many of the season and never ship the staff scrambling for a mid-season substitute. This 12 months, Tomlin’s come off that strategy. Harris nonetheless sees a excessive quantity however there’s a job for everybody. For Warren on passing downs and now, for Snell to see some touches after a hard-earned efficiency Monday night time towards the Colts.
That’s how Pittsburgh has run the ball for 100+ yards in 5 straight video games and 150 in three of their 4 because the bye week. The Steelers have lacked a constant and dependable run recreation since 2019. Now, they’ve confirmed they’ll maintain. With a rookie at quarterback and the necessity to play mistake-free soccer, this run recreation is a necessity the staff’s lastly getting.