Why Former Steelers RB Rocky Bleier Wishes He Knew About 100-Yard Rushing Streak

With Lamar Jackson’s late 5-yard scramble in the Ravens’ 23-7 victory against the Denver Broncos, Baltimore achieved what only one other NFL team has achieved in football history: 43 consecutive games with 100 or more yards on the ground.

The record stood for 44 years after the Pittsburgh Steelers ran for 100 or more yards in 43 straight games from 1974-1977. While the record is impressive, the Ravens’ decision to push for the record as the game clock expired has drawn a mixed response.

Rocky Bleier was a running back for the Steelers from 1968-1980 and an integral part of Pittsburgh’s rushing attack during the streak along with Franco Harris. However, Bleier didn’t even know about the record until recently.

“I thought, ‘God, I wish I would’ve known this. It was something else I could brag about,” Bleier joked on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 6. “The majority of those 100-yard [games], a lot of them came from Franco, but from the combination of running backs, [too].”

Rocky Bleier
Rocky Bleier (Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was not pleased with Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh’s decision to run the ball in lieu of taking a knee, but Bleier appreciates the competitive spirit of the Ravens.

Bleier, who ran for 3,865 yards and 23 touchdowns in 140 games during an 11-year career with Pittsburgh, said he understands going for the record given the extensive history between the Steelers and Ravens.

“One of the things, and I can understand it, is the great rivalry, obviously, that has evolved over the years between the Ravens and the Steelers,” Bleier said. “I can see it. Somebody within the Ravens’ organization going, ‘Hey, listen. This obscure record [is owned by the Steelers]. Let’s go for the 5 yards and pick it up.'”

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson remains the keystone of the Baltimore rushing attack, playing a crucial role in both the team’s success and the attainment of this marathon of a record. His 28 rushing yards on seven attempts proved to be the difference in cracking 100 yards Oct. 3.

Jackson is up to 279 rushing yards on the season and has run for 3,185 yards during his four-year NFL career. Along the way, he has tallied 21 touchdowns on the ground.

“I think the interesting thing in the evolution is the marvelous job that the Ravens have done over these last three, four years to be able to do that,” Bleier said. “… Rules have changed, offenses have changed, and that allows a quarterback of the stature of Lamar to be able to run and he does that so well.”

A potent rushing attack driven by the quarterback is something Bleier certainly admires. After producing more than 5,100 yards from scrimmage during his career, he knows what it takes to march up the field on the ground while maintaining a solid passing game.

“Unfortunately, we had [Terry] Bradshaw — not a great runner,” Bleier joked. “But that wasn’t part of the game back at that time. Because of rule changes that have taken place, offense that is expanded and how that offensive game is approached today around the league allows the quarterback to be an integral part of that running game.

“You’ve got a great group of solid running backs there with [Ty’Son] Williams, [Latavius] Murray, [DeVonta] Freeman and [Le’Veon] Bell that allow a team to be healthy and not miss a beat in the running game. I’m expecting great things from the Ravens.”

For more from Bleier, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers