After the Steelers offensive line and Le’Veon Bell took the air out of the ball late in the game against the Tennessee Titans, Mike Tomlin yelled in the locker room “now that’s some Steelers football!”
I’m not one to say the Steelers “need” to run it, or “need” to pass it. I think “finding an identity” for the offense is meaningless announcer-speak.
I don’t dream of the days of Jerome Bettis grinding down defenses 2 to 3 yards at a time, because I realize that was a different NFL.
I’m all for taking what the defense is giving you, but I think that the gameplan should center largely around Le’Veon Bell for the remainder of the regular season.
I’m sure many of you are saying “duh,” after Bell rushed for over 200 yards against the Titans, but that’s not why I’m calling for more runs.
I thought the Steelers should limit Bell’s carries against the Ravens and Jets because they are very tough to run against, and trying is often just wasting downs. I thought Todd Haley really hurt the Steelers by not testing their weak secondary earlier in the game.
I wrote prior to the Titans game they should ride him to victory because the Titans front 7 was vulnerable, and that Bell could take advantage; and that’s exactly what happened.
The Steelers can’t afford to slip up in a historically tight division race, and the teams they have remaining are all capable of beating the Steelers.
However, the thing that all of those remaining teams all have in common is that they can be beaten by the run. Here’s some numbers on those teams…
23rd in rush yards per game
30th in yards per carry
27th in rush yards per game
18th in yards per carry
26th in rush yards per game
32nd in yards per carry
24th in rush yards per game
14th in yards per carry
As the calendar turns to December (and hopefully January) the weather is going to get worse, and 4 of the 5 games left have the potential of bad weather (the 5th being in the dome at Atlanta). It always help to have a strong run game in those situations.
It can also keep a defense fresh that needs all the advantages it can get.
I wrote last week that there’s some concern with the amount of carries that Le’Veon Bell will be getting without a proven backup, and that does still worry me.
That being said I don’t think you can factor that in for the rest of this season. This off-season a legitimate #2 running back should be a priority, but for now, just worry about winning games.