At times on Sunday inside SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line was getting after it in the run game.
There were some decent runs early in the game that showed some promise for the Steelers on the ground, but it was too far and few between as the Steelers had just 18 rushing yards entering the fourth quarter and trailing 17-10.
Then, things completely changed for the entire offense.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line really started to displace defenders and things really started clicking for the offense, especially in the run game.
Though Pittsburgh finished with just 81 yards rushing on the afternoon, the Steelers ran for three touchdowns, two of which came in the fourth quarter. None was bigger than Najee Harris’ 3-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Steelers the lead with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter. But it was Jaylen Warren’s 13-yard touchdown run with 13:49 left in the fourth quarter that was beautifully blocked and showed that the Steelers were really taking over in the run game.
Facing a 2nd and 5 from the Rams’ 13-yard line, the Steelers ran a toss left to Warren after a quick motion from Allen Robinson II across the formation. The toss to Warren was away from Los Angeles star defensive lineman Aaron Donald, too, giving the Steelers an advantage.
Left guard Isaac Seumalo started the party with a pair of crucial blocks. Seumalo was tasked with kicking out the defensive lineman aligned over left tackle Dan Moore Jr. to open the lane. With a good get-off and a powerful blow to the defensive tackle, Seumalo was able to help Moore displace the defensive tackle to open up the gaping hole.
Then, after his big kick-out block on the defensive lineman, Seumalo had great eyes to climb to the second level. Getting a hat on Los Angeles linebacker Ernest Jones IV, he turned him in the process, allowing Seumalo to put himself between Jones and Warren, who was coming in hot off his hip.
As Seumalo gets the pair of big blocks to give Warren a lane, right guard James Daniels quietly makes the block that broke the Rams’ dam.
Daniels does a good job of climbing vertically to the second level on the toss play, aiming to track down the backside safety, Quentin Lake, who is in the box on the play.
Daniels gets off the ball quickly and cleanly, takes a great angle vertically to get a hat on Lake and then sticks with him as Lake tries to work across the formation. It’s not a pancake from Daniels, but it’s an outstanding job of staying engaged and using body positioning to create a lane off of his hip. Stick with it just enough, hold your block just a bit longer, big things can happen.
Credit to Mason Cole on the play, too. That’s a very tough reach block to try and hit, especially when the nose tackle is shaded over your play-side shoulder and you aren’t getting help from your guard.
Cole has struggled at times this season, but he did a great job getting just enough to hook the nose tackle long enough to let Warren burst through the hole, leading to the 13-yard touchdown.
It was arguably one of the better-executed run plays this season from the Steelers, and certainly their best in the win on the road against the Rams. That’s a testament to the work the interior of the offensive line did to get Warren into the end zone, igniting the comeback.