Affiliate – The Pittsburgh Steelers might be a 3-3 team through six weeks, but they know that they are going to have to run the ball a whole heck of a lot better than they have been over the course of the first six games of the season if they have a chance to make it to the playoffs this year. This
week’s foe is the Washington Redskins, who are 4 ½-point underdogs on the opening NFL odds in Week 8.
Pittsburgh’s problems start with the health of so many crucial players in the run game. There actually have only been two running backs that have played in all six games this year, as RB Jonathan Dwyer was made inactive for two games, RB Isaac Redman missed last week, and RB Rashard Mendenhall is in his second injury stint this year and has only started twice.
As a result, there isn’t a player on the team that has even 200 rushing yards.
It definitely hasn’t been for a lack of trying for the Steelers. Their running backs have carried the ball 139 times this year, an average of 23.2 times per game, but they only have a grand total of 463 yards to show for their work. There are also just a total of three rushing touchdowns, one of
which has been scored by three different players. That ugly 3.33 yards per carry average for the running backs is what is really keeping this team from succeeding, and the team has had just one carry all year long that went for more than 17 yards.
The Redskins have been a modest rush defense this year, holding teams’ running backs down to 3.94 yards per carry this year. However, the team has conceded a total of five rushing touchdowns as well, and those have all come in its last five games.
Whether it be Dwyer, Redman, Mendenhall, RB Baron Batch, or RB Chris Rainey, someone is going to have to figure out how to get the ball moving on the ground for the Steelers to succeed in Week 8.