Steelers notebook: Haley hopes offense can revive run game
With the Steelers on pace for one of their best passing seasons, it's obvious to offensive coordinator Todd Haley what they need: a breakout running game.
Only Sunday against the Cleveland Browns might be a difficult game for it to happen.
The Browns are one of three teams that haven't allowed a 300-yard passer or a 100-yard rusher, and they're No. 5 overall defensively.
The Steelers have been waiting for rookie Le'Veon Bell to jump-start their running game, but with inconsistent blocking from an ever-shifting cast of offensive linemen, he averages only 3.1 yards per carry.
“What we need is a couple of breakout runs,” Haley said. “We are earning every yard. When the long run (of a game) is 13 (yards), it's hard to get that total up very far. You need one of those with everybody chasing them down the sideline.”
With the Steelers running less effectively than in any season since 1966, they're running out of time to find a reliable component to complement Ben Roethlisberger's throwing and Antonio Brown's catching.
“As we move into late November and December, I think you have to be able to run the football effectively when they know you are running it,” Haley said.
Keep streak alive?
The Steelers committed eight turnovers and ran for only 49 yards in losing in Cleveland, 20-14, last season. But they haven't dropped successive games there since losing four in a row from 1990-93.
Feeling no love
Emmanuel Sanders found out early in his career what Cleveland fans think of the Steelers.
“My dad, he went to Cleveland, and he's sitting in the stands, and he almost got into an argument with a guy who threatened to throw his beer on him because he was wearing a Steelers jersey,” Sanders said. “So that didn't play too well.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
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