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A heavy emphasis on the rushing attack came to fruition during Pittsburgh's 2012 season. The Steelers unsuccessfully returned to a smashmouth style the relied on a stable of running backs to move the football on the ground.
It was the 1940s all over again, and it ended with a resounding thud.
Some things are better left in the past. Pittsburgh’s run-heavy heritage is one of them.
The NFL is a passing league. Rushing attacks have become secondary in most cases. Teams running the read option are the exception, but even they have more balance than Todd Haley’s offense last season.
The biggest problems in 2012 were that the Steelers could find no rhythm on the ground, which infected their air attack as well, and that the offense was so unbalanced that it chaotically weaved from extreme to extreme at various points.
In 2013, the team has to settle on some middle ground. A more creative backfield, as we’ve already discussed, will be helpful. A better run-blocking scheme along the line will also be essential. Balance between throwing and running must be the goal.
A balanced offense, like what Denver runs, gives plenty of snaps to both attacks. It also allows for deep passes (something Pittsburgh rarely used this season despite having one of the league’s strongest quarterbacks), play action and a host of other important conventions.
Until the Steelers can balance the attack and use both parts of it consistently to create rhythm, the offense will continue to sputter and stall at random.