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Born to run

The Steelers haven't consistently run the ball as well as they want to or as well as they believe they need to this season, but they're not running away from the problem.

"We're just not getting the results that we need to get," offensive coordinator Matt Canada acknowledged.

The Steelers ran it 18 times for 70 yards, a 3.9-yard average per carry, in last Sunday's 20-10 loss to Jacksonville.

They had managed 86 rushing yards on 29 tries, a 3.0-yard average, on Oct. 22 in Los Angeles, but three of those attempts reached the end zone (the Steelers' first three rushing touchdowns of the season).

The ground game was a critical component of the Steelers' 7-2 finishing kick following last season's bye.

But this season the Steelers are No. 28 in the NFL in rushing (79.7 yards per game) heading into Thursday night's game against Tennessee.

"We have to continue to push," Canada emphasized. "We're coming into a point where we gotta start seeing some improvement in all aspects of it.

"But, obviously, our run game, we have a lot of time invested. We believe we want to be a good running team. Put our finger on what it is? It's whatever happens on that play. But we certainly want to see that increase and improve."

The offense is also continuing to sort through how and when to get the ball to wide receiver George Pickens.

With wide receiver Diontae Johnson back in action for the first time since the regular-season opener in the Rams game, Pickens caught five passes on eight targets for 107 yards.

Take a look at the best portraits from the Steelers' Week 8 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars

But he was targeted just once in the first half and five times overall against Jacksonville.

Pickens' one reception resulted in a 22-yard touchdown.

"I think George was double-teamed almost every play except those times, I think, he was targeted," Canada said.

"We'll continue to try to do the best we can with that. But if they want to put two people on him then, obviously, other areas of our passing game have to elevate, and they should. If they've got two people designated for George, we've got enough good players and talent, (the defense) should be more vulnerable, right?

"We have to do a good job of seeing it. And I think the quarterbacks did, trying not to force it (in the Jacksonville game). Everybody wants George to get the ball. You saw what happened when he got it, but we gotta be smart."