As admirably as running back DeAngelo Williams filled in for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first two games of the season, All-Pro Le’Veon Bell has shown in the two games since his return why he is simply on another level than not Williams, but most of the rest of the league.
Because he has had to operate with Michael Vick at quarterback, his abilities as a receiving threat have been limited, but against the Ravens, he ran the ball impressively, registering 129 yards on 22 rushing attempts, including a reverse-field 11-yard touchdown run, his second touchdown in as many games.
There were a number of highlight runs for Bell on the night, making it difficult to narrow the focus in demonstrating his skill set, but it helps when runs go for either explosive or scoring plays. Others simply accentuate his natural running abilities.
The first play would be the latter, early in the game, on which Bell picked up 11 yards, showing off his patience at the line of scrimmage. He had the choice between the A or B gap on the right side of the line, but stuttered left before cutting back around the right guard. Advancing upfield, he put a hit on the charging defensive back, spinning off contact for a couple of extra yards.
Late in the first half, with the Steelers driving meaningfully for the first time in the game, Bell showed off his vision, instinct, strength, and agility on a nine-yard run to the Ravens’ 37-yard line. As the power counter scheme broke down, the back sharply cut back upfield, juking one defender before taking contact and ultimately pushing the while, with assistance, forward for another couple of yards.
Later in the drive, the third-year back put the exclamation mark on the offensive effort by punching the ball over the goal line for the Steelers’ first touchdown of the night, taking the lead at that point.
From the 11-yard line, Bell elected to turn the run back upfield after his fullback struggled to hold his block—he ultimately tackled the defender in the process—outmaneuvering a linebacker before outracing the rest of the defense to the end zone, with a notable assist from Vick on a block.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the offense hoping to put away the game, Bell got what was hoped to be their final possession off to a positive start by ripping off a 21-yard run to the Ravens’ 36. Showing a three tight end look—including a tackle-eligible—the Steelers ran the counter with great success. Bell had to do little more than follow his blockers, though he did cut inside to avoid one defender for extra yardage.
After the Ravens managed to tie the game and send it into overtime, the All-Pro put Pittsburgh in good position to seal the deal in overtime by adding a 22-yard gain on the second play of the opening possession to cross midfield.
Once again on the counter run to the left, this time Bell had to shed a linebacker at the line of scrimmage before finding and tip-toeing inside the sideline for a long gain before being tripped up trying to cut the run back inside.
While the Steelers are unquestionably undermanned without their best player at the most important position in the game, performances such as the above from Bell lead to the feeling that the do still have enough firepower on offense to rattle off a win or two over the next few weeks.