The running and general offensive problems of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been mentioned once or twice, but one of the most ridiculous stats of the opening two weeks in the NFL is that both Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts have more rushing yards than the entire Steelers ground game.
The Steelers have so far rushed for 75 yards on 31 carries through two games this season. This would rank them 35th among rushing leaders in the NFL as an individual, and puts them at 31st in the league so far, with only the New York Giants doing worse on the ground with 73 total yards after two weeks.
There are other quarterbacks with more yards than the Steelers this season – Terrelle Pryor with 162 (7th in the NFL), Colin Kaepernik with 109 (20th in the league) and also Michael Vick of the Eagles with 77. However, those names aren’t very surprising to see gaining 40-50 or more yards per game on the ground. When someone like Alex Smith, who has never had a rush of over 25 yards and averages less than 30 carries a season, has run for 82 yards already, it pops out more among the pages.
Andrew Luck? He has 76 rushing yards so far this season, but the only fact that’s surprising is he’s part of a pass heavy offense. Luck is an excellent runner when he has to break out of the pocket. He ran for 255 yards on 62 carries last season (4.1 yards average). This season, he’s averaging 7.6 yards per carry so far, which would have put him at second in the NFL if his rushing attempt numbers would qualify him to be ranked. Terrelle Pryor, with 162 yards on 22 carries, leads the quarterbacks with 7.4.
The Steelers have to get better, because it’s hard to think of an NFL team doing so badly, even without enough talent to carry the ball or a decent offensive line to protect them. Not much better, but I’m sure we’ll see a 100 yard-game from the Steelers, as a team at least, at some point this season. However, there’s a good chance that their brand name is helping mask the depth of the problem on this team, and at the end of the season, when they finish with a 3-13 record or something close to it we’ll be surprised at how bad they really were.