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While it's no secret that the once run-heavy Pittsburgh Steelers offense has become primarily a passing outfit in recent years, they also managed to have some significant success on the ground in 2010 thanks to the skills of running back Rashard Mendenhall.
In 2010, Mendenhall was one of the NFL's top rushers, carrying the ball 324 times for 1,274 yards and 13 scores and catching 23 passes worth 167 more yards.
In 2011, behind a Pittsburgh offensive line that struggled with run blocking for the majority of the early season, he's carried the ball just 153 times for 574 yards and six scores, while notching just 13 receptions for 87 yards.
Though he missed one game with a hamstring injury, that isn't reason enough for Mendenhall's slide. The offensive line is but one reason why his numbers have been so low this year. He's also struggling to commit to a rushing lane, leaving him dancing around behind the line of scrimmage, easy pickings for potential tacklers.
It's also the overall pass-first Steelers' offensive philosophy that's contributed to Mendenhall's lowered production. Though Pittsburgh has rarely found itself playing from behind, they're less interested in running the ball than in recent years.
Combine that with Mendenhall sharing more and more carries with fellow backs Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore, and it's clear that he's not going to reach 1,200 or more yards in 2011.