Alabama in the Pros

Steelers’ RB Najee Harris selected NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for October

Najee Harris (#22) runs the ball for Steelers during 2021 season
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin saw his Pittsburgh Steelers win three of four games in October.

Pittsburgh won three straight matchups versus the Broncos, Seahawks, and Browns to improve to 4-3.

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The reason for its recent success is featuring a first-round running back more. Najee Harris got selected at No. 24 overall of the NFL Draft in April by the Steelers. Pittsburgh wanted to return to a power running game and take pressure off its aging quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. After a slow start in two games, Harris showed Steeler fans his versatility as a receiver.

He totaled 14 catches for 102 receiving yards in week three against the Bengals. Despite a loss, the rookie from Alabama would start a trend of three strong performances. The Steelers lost their first game in October to the Packers; however, Harris was a problem for the Denver Broncos defense. He posted his first 100-yard rushing outing, collecting 122 yards with one touchdown on 23 carries. Harris averaged 5.3 yards per rushing attempt and helped Pittsburgh to a 27-19 victory. The black and gold faced Seattle next, and Harris was instrumental. He had 24 carries for 81 yards rushing in a 23-20 overtime win for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh did not have a pretty matchup with Cleveland, but Harris totaled 100+ scrimmage yards.

He tallied 91 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving, and one touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder touched the ball 29 times, and it allowed the Steelers to gain a 15-10 victory. With his efforts in October, Harris earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month honors.

He joined Roethlisberger (Oct. 2004) and Heath Miller (Oct. 2005) as the third Steeler to win the award. Despite being a rookie, Harris is fourth in the NFL for carries (128) and 11th for rushing yards (471).

He will lead Pittsburgh against the Chicago Bears this week at Heinz Field.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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