So many Steelers fans were upset when the team decided to take Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 draft. I did not share their sentiment. After watching an abysmal revolving door of running backs do absolutely nothing in the 2020 season, it was time for a change. Seeing Harris quietly carry a team with very few weapons this season, the game on Sunday night proves Harris is the truth.
Early on in the Steelers/Ravens battle on Sunday afternoon, Najee Harris went down with an elbow injury. This injury looked pretty bad after watching the replay. The Steelers would then have to rely on back up dud, Benny Snell. If this was a regular game, Harris more than likely doesn’t come back in. With the season and Ben Roethlisberger’s career on the line, Harris was given a second chance to dust off the cobwebs and help win the football game.
Najee carries the load
As the game progressed into overtime, someone had to come up and make a big play. Roethlisberger clearly doesn’t have the arm strength and accuracy he once did, so improvisation becomes necessary. Beginning overtime on their own 17 with a lot of field to go, Harris set the tone with an amazing one handed grab to move the chains.
After that, other heroics were created by Pat Freiermuth, Dionte Johnson, and Ray-Ray McCloud. However, it was Najee again who sealed the deal with a clutch 14 yard run giving Chris Boswell a very easy 36 yard field goal to win the game. If Benny Snell was tasked at making a one handed grab and busting off a tough 14 yard run, I think the Ravens more than likely take the game.
What else does he do?
There are two really impressive stats from Harris for his rookie campaign. The first is that he is the definition of a workhorse. He rushed 307 times for 1,200 yards and caught 74 passes for 467 yards. He had 10 total touchdowns, but most impressively had zero fumbles. Not one! Compared to similar running backs like Austin Ekeler (4), Jonathan Taylor (4) and Antonio Gibson (6), Najee easily takes the cake.
Additionally, Harris broke Franco Harris’ rookie rushing record of 1055 yards that had been in tact since 1972. This kid is going to be special.
It’s going to be a tough game against the Chiefs on Sunday. We all know what Patrick Mahomes and company can do but let’s not count out the Steelers just yet. With their TJ Watt lead defense and Najee Harris, anything can happen. If you need a guy to rely on in a do or die game, he’s your man. Frankly, I just want to see more of Mike Tomlin dancing so keep on winning, Steelers!
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