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Steelers Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren Dominate 1st Half Against Seahawks In First Preseason Action Of 2022

Chaz Palla / Tribune-Review

Steelers Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren Dominate 1st Half Against Seahawks In First Preseason Action Of 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have a great defense in 2022 if the unit remains relatively healthy. The main concerns are on the offensive side of the ball, specifically a rushing attack that averaged only 91.1 yards a game on the ground in 2021. A revamped offensive line via free agency and more of a commitment to the rushing attack could see changes to the efficiency that we see from Najee Harris and co. this season.

Harris is not in pads for the first preseason game of the year and neither is his current backup, Benny Snell Jr. That left the door open for Anthony McFarland Jr. and Jaylen Warren to handle the workload in the first half and they did not disappoint.

 

Steelers Anthony McFarland

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

McFarland has been impressive and explosive in training camp and backed up his play in practice each carry against the Seahawks so far. He has carried the ball seven times for 56 yards at an astonishing eight yards per carry. The Steelers as a whole only averaged 3.8 yards per carry all of last season. As Mason Rudolph came in to relieve Mitch Trubisky, the play action seemed already more effective than it did all of 2021. However, the team did shy away from running the football a bit after Trubisky’s departure.

Warren saw his first NFL action and lived up to the hype that he has generated during camp. He only had five carries, but picked up 30 yards and also had a 10-yard reception that went for a first down. Both players certainly put their best out on the field and Snell Jr. should be watching with a little sweat running down his face. He is replaceable and the ball carriers who did play in the first half are making cases for themselves.

Steelers Offense Needs A Prominent Rushing Attack To Succeed In 2022

One of the keys for the offense to keep up with the firepower that exists in the AFC is going to be establishing a rushing attack and utilizing the play action. Offensive Coordinator, Matt Canada most likely has one more year to prove that he can consistently call productive plays at the NFL level. An improved offensive line paired with talent at running back could immediately catapult the offense into a new gear.

It’s just preseason and the Seahawks aren’t the toughest of defenses to go up against, but it was surely encouraging as the Steelers only rushed for a total of 76 yards in their first action last season during the Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys. On top of that, the offense only averaged 2.5 yards per carry in the matchup. Fast forward to Saturday night and McFarland, Warren and Trubisky ran for 90 yards averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

 

Steelers running back Jaylen Warren

Steelers Running Back, Jaylen Warren. Credit: Steelers.com

 

The Steelers have the ability to be more dangerous than expected on offense in 2022 if the first half against the Seahawks is what will translate to the regular season.

Take the success with a grain of salt, but there is no doubt the beginning of the Steelers 2022 season and offense started out positive. Both Trubisky and Rudolph performed well, but the solid play of the running backs and offensive line was the most crucial takeaway of the first half. Keep an eye out in the second half to see how the running backs are used and if they can continue to gel with the big men up front to continuously pick up positive yardage.

 

What is your analysis of the rushing attack in the first half of the preseason game number one? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Pingback: Steelers' George Pickens' Sensational Debut As WR1: The Hype Is Real - SteelerNation.com

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