Grinding it out

There wasn't much, if anything, to get excited about the last time the Steelers ventured into Arrowhead Stadium.

Even Najee Harris' 93 rushing yards on 19 carries had an asterisk attached.

"I'm not beating the drum about anything about that game," offensive coordinator Matt Canada insisted.

Harris' output on Dec. 26 wound up being his fifth-highest of the season.

But 10 of his carries and 56 of his yards were amassed after Kansas City had taken a 30-0, third-quarter lead, along the way to a 36-10 decision of the Steelers.

The Steelers prepare for the Wild Card matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs

A bigger statement was made, Canada maintained, when Harris returned after missing most of the first half (elbow) and wound up rushing 11 times for 28 yards and catching four passes for 27 yards in last Sunday's 16-13 overtime win in Baltimore.

Harris started what became the game-winning drive with a one-handed, 11-yard reception and helped finish it with a 15-yard run that positioned kicker Chris Boswell for the 36-yard field goal that ended it.

"It says he's the guy we said he was the whole time," Canada said of Harris. "He made a one-handed catch and a couple really, really big runs. I think he was really effective when he came back. Certainly says a lot about him as a person and how much of a team player he is, how much he wants to win."

"He loves to compete and he loves to win."

In between playing the Chiefs and the Ravens, Harris exploded for 188 yards on 28 attempts (a 6.7 average) in a 26-14 win over Cleveland on Jan. 3 at Heinz Field.

His night's work against the Browns included a 37-yard touchdown run with one minute left in regulation.

"We've started to be able to run the ball at some key times," Canada said. "Obviously, you finished the Browns game with a big run. You finished the Ravens game with a big run to get us in position. It's not where we want it to be. We're not sitting there churning out 6-, 7-yard runs and the things we're all hoping to do.

"Up front and protection-wise, for the most part we're doing the best we can. We're moving guys around. Really proud how hard those guys are playing. When you look at the situation and the guys that are out and the guys that are stepping up I think they deserve a lot of credit for how hard they're playing and how much effort they're giving.

"Obviously, the last two weeks we've got all that matters, which are Ws. That's all we're trying to get."

The offensive line has been a work in progress of late, with J.C Hassenauer replacing Kendrick Green at center the last two games and Joe Haeg taking over at left tackle for Dan Moore Jr. against the Ravens.

Whatever configuration they come up with in Kansas City, the Steelers will take on a Chiefs' defense that's allowed more than 100 yards rushing in four of its last six games.

Denver's 191 yards rushing last Sunday against Kansas City included 35 yards and two rushing touchdowns by quarterback Drew Lock.

The Steelers aren't likely to attack in such a fashion with 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

But they'll keep working on the ground game, as they have been all season.

"We felt like we had a really good back," Canada said. "Obviously, we've had a lot of different hats playing offensive line for us. We've tried to go at that the best we can, and we're always playing really good people.

"I don't know if we have more confidence. We're gonna continue to try to be as balanced as we can and score more points."

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