Steelers Offense Should Call It Quits If Bell Doesn’t Have Big Day Against Bengals
The Steelers offense has taken their toll of criticism this season. From Toddy Haley’s poor, stubborn, and often odd play calling, to inconsistent young receivers, to an offensive line that still is often described as a ‘turnstyle,’ to now Ben Roethlisberger having a bad game here and there. If you could take all the things going wrong for the offense, line’m up on a dart board, and close your eyes, you’d hit something every time. One thing that seems almost invincible from criticism this year, however, is running back sensation Le’Veon Bell.
Bell is second in the league in rushing and in total yards from scrimmage for running backs. He is giving Antonio Brown a run for his money as being considered the playmaker on the team. He runs hard, is patient, and still finds a way to gain positive yards after first contact. There’s no one who is a football fan who is not impressed with this young man’s skill set and production.
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The Cincinnati Bengals rank 25th in defending the run. Going into Sunday against the Steelers, they are without one of their top linebackers, Vontaze Burfict.
Logic would tell you that the Steelers should exploit that and more when they head into Cincy. But, Todd Haley has a unique way of defying logic with his own special brand of narcissism or stubbornness to adjust the offense with what works. If, Boss Todd can construct a game plan that focuses on Bell getting a healthy dose of touches, he should be able to wear down and frustrate a banged up Cincy D. Playing in Cincinnati has been a personal hell for Ben Roethlisberger. He has always struggled (or better yet, the offense in general) at the Paul Brown for whatever reason. If the trend continues, the offense will need Bell to carry them to the W.
I’m not just talking about solely running the ball either. If you noticed during the Saints game, anytime Bell was kicked out to the slot before the snap (which happened three times), he was open every time. Ben only threw him the ball once, and it was one of his god awful overthrows that Bell could not haul in. They should be running that play until Marvin Lewis wants to drown himself in the Ohio River. There’s no way that Rey Maualuga or Emmanuel Lamur can cover Bell out in the flat. None.
If Bell doesn’t get at least 25+ carries, close to 100 yards rushing, 6-8 catches, and over 60 yards receiving, then this offense just needs to hang their head and start thinking about the 2015 season. More succinctly, it’s Boss Todd who needs to hang his head and just call it quits. If he can’t exploit the weaknesses of this Bengals defense by using over and over again his most well rounded running back, there’s no way they can finish this season 1-3 let alone the 4-0 they need to make the playoffs.
The Bengals are above the .500 mark, so they have at least that going for them. The preparation should be better by the players. Maybe the playbook will be as well.
The road to the playoffs has been paved, and they will almost literally need Bell to run them down that road the whole way. It starts in Cincy, and will end against Cincy while at Heinz Field.
Feed Bell that rock.