Will Steelers running game hold them back? History says no

Will Steelers running game hold them back? History says no
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) takes the hand off from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) (Ron Jenkins)

PITTSBURGH — Back in 2008, Steelers running back Willie Parker was unhappy with how well the team’s rushing attack, ranked 20th in the league at the time, was performing.

He made his displeasure known in the media.

The next day, Mike Tomlin responded with a now-classic quote.

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“Every morning I come to work, I walk past five Lombardis, not five rushing titles. The issue is winning,” Tomlin said, referring to the five Lombardi Trophies that then stood in the entry way to the team’s offices at the UMPC-Rooney Sports Complex.

The Steelers, who finished the 2008 season ranked 23rd in rushing, would add a sixth Lombardi Trophy at the end of that season.

Fast forward to 2020. The Steelers (9-0) heading into their game next Sunday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars (1-8) are 24th in the NFL in rushing at 101.8 yards per game after rushing for less than 50 yards in each of their past three games. But they’ve won all three of those games, becoming the first team since 1940 to rush for less than 50 yards in three consecutive games and win them all.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin speaks ahead of Jaguars game