The news that many of us expected came down earlier today when the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that Le’Veon Bell would not play Saturday night against Baltimore.
Bell of course injured his leg against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday night and has been hobbled all week with his hyper-extended knee.
Already I’m seeing many fans point to the fact that Bell only ran for 20 yards on 10 carries in the team’s 43-23 win over Baltimore on November 2nd but I caution them to be careful about using past history as a guide.
There’s much more to being an NFL running back than just running the ball. Bell also totaled five receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown and his importance in picking up the blitz cannot be overstated enough.
Personally, I feel like Josh Harris is going to have a nice game. He showed a brief glimpse of what he can do last week but his long run was called back due to a flag. I believe he can push the pile and carve out just enough yards to keep Baltimore honest but…
Let’s remember that Harris hasn’t done anything on the pro level to give us a whole lot of confidence which is why the team signed Ben Tate this week.
The overall point in all of this is that we cannot assume this offense will just keep right on truckin’ with Bell on the sidelines. Whether Bell was healthy or not, the gameplan has to be to attack the Ravens’ weak secondary with the pass but we cannot dismiss the absence of Bell just because he didn’t have a lot of yards in the previous match-up.
Football is a game of individual match-ups and Baltimore now has one very large match-up it doesn’t have to worry about. This doesn’t mean the Ravens will waltz to victory but Bell’s absence cannot merely be dismissed because he had “little impact” last time.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game