After rushing for nearly 500 yards in his past 3 games, it finally didn’t look easy out there for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
Bell was held to his second lowest game in yards per carry on the season, and it came in a game where he was facing one of the worst defenses in the league.
Watching the game on Sunday, it became pretty clear that the Falcons were going to pull out all the stops to limit Bell’s production on the ground and make Big Ben beat them. Luckily for Steelers fans, Ben is pretty capable of throwing on a defense that’s loading the box.
We saw the Steelers’ counter punch when they sealed the game on a play-action pass to Heath Miller.
I’m not saying that Bell had an awful game. He still chipped in 119 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns. But the Steelers didn’t dominate offensively like they do when he’s pounding the rock down a defense’s throat.
While the Falcons plan didn’t necessarily work, it did show that if a team focuses on it, Le’Veon Bell can be contained… and if a better defense does the same the Steelers could be in trouble.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a team I just can’t figure out, especially on defense.
The Chiefs rank dead last in the league in yards per carry allowed at 4.9 yards per tote… However, they’re the best team in the league when it comes to keeping backs out of the endzone; allowing just 2 rushing touchdowns all season.
While the Chiefs run defense gets gouged, their pass defense is very good. The Chiefs rank 2nd in passing yards per game, second only to the Seahawks. Despite good pass coverage, the Chiefs rank dead last with only 4 interceptions on the season.
That’s even despite the fact that they do pressure the QB well, where they rank tied for 6th in sacks.
There’s a lot that doesn’t seem to add up when you look at the numbers, but where it really does matter… in points per game, the Chiefs are tied for the 4th fewest given up at 18.1.
The Chiefs are limited offensively. They’re going to come into Heinz and try to grind it out, and possess the ball with Jamaal Charles, keeping Big Ben and his offense off the field.
The Steelers best chance at success is to gash their run defense with Bell, but where the game will be won or lost is in the red-zone.
If they stack the box like the Falcons did, they could have more success because they have the pass rushers and secondary to make life more difficult for the Steelers Quarterback.
It seems like the Chiefs let a lot of teams move the ball and stop them from punching it in, which at times has been exactly what the Steelers offense struggles with. That’s shown by the fact that they lead the entire NFL in yards per game but sit at 6th in points per game.
I’m not sure if the Todd Haley connection to Kansas City encourages me or scares me. Todd would likely love to put up a ton of points on his former team, but my hope is he doesn’t get too cute in trying to do so.
The Chiefs are inconsistent but are a very dangerous team that has wins over two Superbowl favorites this season (New England and Seattle).
If the Steelers clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, they’ll have earned it.