The Pittsburgh Steelers looked pitiful against the Philadelphia Eagles, on defense and especially on offense. Luckily for the offense they get a boost with the return of running back Le’Veon Bell to the field after serving his three-game suspension.
Before last week’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Eagles, you may have been hard pressed to get running back DeAngelo Williams out of the starting lineup he was running over opponents the first two weeks but he was part of the disaster at Lincoln Field. In his defense the offensive line has its worst game in a while, maybe even a decade no time for Ben Roethlisberger to even get set in the pocket and no running lanes for Williams. The first three games Williams ran for 258 yards with two touchdowns, now steps in Bell.
In Bell’s first two seasons (2013-2014) he was a stud amassing over 800 yards rushing his rookie season with eight touchdowns then he exploded his second season rushing for over 1,000 yards with eight touchdowns and added over 100 yards receiving with three touchdowns. He had become the focus of the ever powerful Steelers’ offense. His fortunes changed in 2015 when again he was suspended to start the season then got hurt so he played in only six games rushing for over 500 yards with three touchdowns.
Bell’s presence will certainly add another dimension to the offense that hasn’t found its stride yet. Antonio Brown hasn’t been lights out and I think that the loss of tight end Heath Miller has been bigger than expected. He was an added offensive lineman when needed and a big time security blanket for Roethlisberger and maybe just maybe Bell can be that security blanket catching the dump off passes over the middle and the screens that have been missing. Obviously Bell will get the ball a lot this game, a prime time game against the Kansas City Chiefs, he will be handed the ball a lot especially if he is running well and will be an asset on third downs as a receiving back.
The best thing about Bell’s return might be that he can start rebuilding the confidence that the offensive live lost in itself in the game against the Eagles. Bell can slither through the most minimal of holes to make a loss of yardage into a gain and as I said be a security blanket in the passing game if Ben get’s pressure then Bell can be his outlet. This means less sacks and more yards all the way around. He also will help Antonio Brown’s numbers because another defender will have to focus on Bell freeing space over the deep middle and down the sidelines for Brown to use his speed and moves to make some catches.
His presence will be an immediate boost to an offense that is expected to score over 30 points a game, but will Bell be able to carry the workload for the rest of the season, only time will tell. But my final thought is ‘gentleman, start your engines’.