The Bus knows a thing or two about running the football in the NFL. After all, he has 13,662 rushing yards (5th all-time in the NFL) and 91 rushing touchdowns (10th all-time in the NFL). He recently sat down with Ed Bouchette and expressed how he felt sick when the Steelers couldn't run the ball in on the one-yard line against the Washington Football Team. Jerome Bettis is a Hall of Fame NFL Running back who the Steelers should start listening to in order to fix their running issues heading into the playoffs because if they come into the playoffs one-dimensional their season will end before they know what hit them.
Jerome Bettis: “When you get to the playoffs, you play complete football teams, and you will have a harder time beating playoff-caliber teams if you can’t run the football. All they need is the commitment to pound the football because in practice everything changes, and when you come out in the game, it changes,” Bettis said. “You can’t ask Ben to throw 51 times every game. As great as he is, if you ask Ben to throw 50 times, Ben will win 8 out of 10 of those games. The problem is, chances are one of those two games he loses is a playoff game that you can’t afford to lose.”
The Steelers need to take those words seriously coming from Bettis because he is right in all aspects of being one-dimensional in the NFL. You will be exposed if you come walking into a playoff game having Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball 51 times. Even if you win one or more games in the playoffs it will eventually catch up to you down the road at some point. That happened finally against the Washington Football Team. Luckily it was during a regular-season game and will allow the Steelers to learn from it.
“The only solution in fixing the running game is the commitment,” he said. “You got to be committed to it because once you commit to it then the offensive linemen, they have a different attitude about it, the running backs look at it differently, just the whole offense changes. You can’t just fix the running game with Xs and Os. It doesn’t happen that way.”
Even Arthur Moats on his podcast said the exact same thing that Bettis is saying about being committed. Moats said "When its pass plays their intensity levels are up, they execute more and they have a lot more level of detail. When it's running plays you watch 11 guys and you be the judge." Just like Bettis says when you run the ball you have to be committed all 11 guys on the field have to be committed to the run.
“Between Conner and Snell, you got two tailbacks who can pound the football, OK?” said Bettis. “They came from running schools in terms of what they did in college, so they can do it. Now the problem is you have to allow them to do it."
Bettis recognizes what we have said since the beginning of the season. The Steelers are not using their running backs to the best of their ability. They seem to be using them as they did with Le'Veon Bell. James Conner and Benny Snell are downfield runners and not tiptoe at the line running backs. They need to pound the football from the get-go. End of story. Mike Tomlin and Randy Fichtner should also consider bringing in Jerome Bettis to talk with the running back. Light the fire under them again ahead of the playoffs because if they cannot figure out the running game the Steelers can kiss the Super Bowl goodbye this season regardless of how good your defense is.