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Breaking down the Steelers pass protection by running backs vs the Chiefs

Looking at each play where a running back was used to hold off the Chiefs’ pass rush

NFL: AUG 03 Steelers Training Camp Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While watching the Steelers preseason game against the Chiefs on Saturday, I noticed the quality pass protection that was provided. Curious if it held up throughout the entire game, I decided to go back and analyze each pass play where a running back blocked to see how all of them did in protecting the quarterback. Let’s get right to it:

First Quarter:

11:09 1st & 10 on PIT 24: James Conner hesitates to look for a blitz before sneaking out to the line of scrimmage as an outlet. The pass is completed to Vance McDonald and fumbled out of bounds after a five yard gain.

9:46 2nd & 7 on PIT 38: Conner picked up the blitzing linebacker perfectly as Mason Rudolph stepped to his left. The pass was incomplete to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

9:38 3rd & 7 on PIT 38. Conner stayed in for two-count to check for blitzers, then released to the middle. Conner was held up by a defender and Rudolph was sacked for a loss of five yards.

3:38 3rd & 9 on PIT 20. Conner stayed in to help on the left side but wasn’t really needed. It looks as if he got stepped on before getting up and making himself available as a safety valve. Rudolph’s pass fell incomplete to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Second Quarter:

13:15 3rd & 11 on PIT 10. Jaylen Samuels stays in for extra protection on the left side. After chipping the defender he floats out into the flat as an option. Rudolph completed the pass to James Washington for 22 yards.

10:32 3rd & 11 on PIT 48. Benny Snell, Jr. lines up on the left but has to slide right to pick up the blitzing corner. Snell mostly misses the block but chips enough for Rudolph to complete the pass to Xavier Grimble for a gain of 13.

9:09 2nd & 2 on KC 31. Smauels lines up on the let side but helps with protection on the right. When no players get through, he eventually chips Grimble’s man. Rudolph scrambles and throws incomplete to Eli Rogers.

8:17 1st & 10 on KC 28. Snell is lined up on the right and helps on that side. He slips out and Rudolph throws him the ball for a gain of six.

1:04 1st & 10 on PIT 17. Snell is lined up to the right and helps with the defensive end. Joshua Dobbs completes to James Washington for 40 yards.

Third Quarter:

4:46 1st & 10 on PIT 40. Trey Edmunds picks up the blitzer nicely. Dobbs throws deep but incomplete to Washington.

2:36 1st & 10 on KC 47. Dobbs fakes the hand off to Edmunds who picks up the defensive end on the left where both tight ends went out on routes. Dobbs completes to Kevin Rader for 13 yards.

0:46 3rd & 5 on KC 29. Edmunds helps on the right side against the defensive end. Dobbs escapes pressure and runs for five yards.

Fourth Quarter:


Although it was only 12 plays in total, the running backs did an excellent job in pass protection! The only play which had any notable problem was when Benny Snell almost completely missed the block in the third quarter. Luckily, he caught just enough of the corner to slow him down and the play was a completion.