5 keys to the Steelers’ playoff future

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Dec 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; aPittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) runs gainst Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Nate Irving (55)during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Maintain success on the ground

It’s pretty safe to say that these aren’t your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, the team fits a mold closer to the 1970’s Steelers dynasty teams than one would think. Pittsburgh owns the league’s sixth-best rushing offense and defense. Both aspects will be important moving forward, but the offensive aspect will be crucial for future success.

When All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell was lost for the season in week 8, all seemed lost. However, DeAngelo Williams has been reborn in the Steel City and has averaged 91.6 yards per game since taking over starting duties. He’s rushing at five yards per clip, making it impossible for teams to ignore him.

As evident in Sunday’s victory over Indianapolis, Williams opens up the floodgates in the Pittsburgh offense. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry against the Colts and allowed for Brown and Bryant to have two of their best games of the season. When he is in a groove, dealing with the Steelers offense becomes a pick-your-poison situation.

However, when the ground attack is not working like it wasn’t against Seattle, mistakes can be made. Sure, Roethlisberger may have set a record for passing yards against the Seahawks, but he still threw two interceptions and another on an extra point which wasn’t counted on the stat sheets.

Williams has gained new life in his career, and Fitzgerald Toussaint looked semi-productive in relief. They will go up against two stout run defenses during the next two weeks, and an established ground attack could be a key to victory for the black and gold.

Next: 2. Bend, but don't break