Normally, this post highlights a few themes that could rule the day in the Steelers’ weekly matchup. Not this week. This week, I’ll primarily be watching for one thing: Le’Veon Bell.
So far in a brief 2015 season, the Steelers have amassed some gaudy offensive totals with Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger terrorizing defensive backs. The team has even added in a heavy dose of production from the running game. DeAngelo Williams‘ churning legs have pushed the Steelers’ offense for several first downs and touch downs already.
This week will be different. This week, Le’Veon Bell returns from his two game suspension for a marijuana arrest in 2014. I’m hoping he’s back with a vengeance.
The 2014 All Pro has already stated that he’s “easily” in the best shape of his career. Considering his speed, power, and elusiveness from 2014, that’s exciting. The lean, but solid Bell should add yet another dimension to an already flourishing offense.
Add in the fact that an up-to-speed DeAngelo Williams will remain a contributor as Bell’s back up and the yards should keep on coming.
Bell has a unique level of patience. His ability to let a play unfold, allowing blockers and tacklers to define the running lanes, is uncanny. He then reacts quickly and brings speed and power to the hole.
He is an adept blocker that Roethlisberger and Todd Haley trust to protect the quarterback. His routes are on the same level of many wide receivers, as are his hands. Don’t leave out his iron clad ball security either. One fumble in 662 career touches.
This might sound like an article written just to praise Le’Veon Bell. Well, it pretty much is. He is an elite player and I can’t wait to see him back on the field–the last time we saw him on it he was helped off due to injury.
How does Bell impact this game in particular? That’s what to watch for. The Rams have played in two games and have had two very different results. A shootout in which they outscored the NFC Champion Seahawks and a dud against the Redskins in which they scored just 10 points.
Even though they’ve allowed 55 points in just two games, the Rams are stacked on defense. On any given Sunday this defensive unit could come in and play shut-out style football. With as talented a defensive line as you’ll find, Bell will have his work cut out for him regardless of the previous two weeks’ results.
It will be interesting to see the level of involvement that Bell has. Head coach Mike Tomlin might have a “pitch count” in mind for the returning back. Either way I’ll be waiting for Bell to get the ball in his hands on Sunday.