Najee Harris sets new Steelers rookie rushing record in spectacular fashion

Running back Najee Harris entered tonight’s game with 984 rushing yards this season in his rookie year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It took 16 to reach 1000 yards. He needed 72 to set a new team record for most rushing yards for a rookie.

He did this and more, and passed the mark dramatically early in the third quarter, recording his longest rush of the season, a 30-yard run in which he put Cleveland Browns defensive back MJ Stewart on his back with a soul snatch. stiff arm. That point put him above Franco Harris’ 1,055 yard mark set in 1972, and over 100 yards for the game.

Franco, of course, recorded over 1,000 rushing yards in a 14-game season – the NFL wouldn’t transition to a 16-game schedule for a few years. He did so on just 188 rushing attempts, with 10 rushing touchdowns and 11 total touchdowns, which remains a rookie tag team record tied by Chase Claypool last year.

Najee Harris’ 1000 yards came with much more resistance. Asked whether he was close to hitting the mark last week before the game, he called him a ‘lousy’ 1000-yarder, and he was certainly right about that, even though the game of tonight was possibly the most beautiful the racing game had looked like. season.

He was rushing for 105 yards at the end of the Steelers’ first practice of the second half, and on just 16 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. It was only his third 100-yard rushing game of the year, after an effort of 122 yards in Week 5 against the Broncos and 105 yards in the draw against the Lions in Week 10. .

He had two games over 90 yards in the three weeks leading up to tonight’s game, averaging 4.7 yards per carry or better in those two games. In other words, there had been some positive signs in recent weeks.

The biggest difference in this game, however, was a change in center, with injured rookie Kendrick Green dressed but not playing. JC Hassenauer started in his place, and the inside offensive line had one of their best games, although that doesn’t mean much.

Harris has 123 yards of scrimmage at this point in the game, with more to come with 20 minutes left. He already holds the record for most scrum yards. It would take work, but he could also set the record for most versatile yards (including return yards) with a solid finish in the final 80 minutes of the year.

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