According to Pro Football Focus, the Pittsburgh Steelers were really good on Sunday. Well, at least two of them were, anyway, because the Steelers represented 20 percent of the site’s list of the 10 best players from Sunday’s game for the week. And it probably isn’t all that hard to guess which two made the list.
Running back Le’Veon Bell came sixth on the list, while inside linebacker Ryan Shazier finished eighth. Shockingly, there were no Browns players on the list, which must clearly have been some unusual oversight on their part. Surely an 0-11 team would find representation from at least one player.
Sarcasm aside, I do think both players were very deserving of making the list, Bell especially, even though, as I noted earlier today, his sudden streak of fumbling needs to be put in check real quick before he actually starts to lose them to the other team.
PFF had this to say about Bell’s game:
With Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson making strong cases, Bell made the point that he is still the best running back in the game this week with a monster performance in Pittsburgh’s win against the Browns. Bell gained 146 rushing yards on 28 carries (5.2 yards per attempt), but he had to break six tackles to get that far, and he added another 55 yards through the air on eight receptions. He beat six different Browns defenders for catches, including Joe Haden and new matchup coverage weapon Jamie Collins.
Pointing out that he broke six tackles to get that yardage on the ground is certainly interesting. Another stat that they mentioned after the game, but not in the article, is that 122 of Bell’s 146 rushing yards were gained on runs outside of the tackle box.
As for Shazier, they had plenty of praise for him as well:
If Shazier could play to this level every week, he would be the All-Pro linebacker his potential suggests he should be. He was thrown at four times in coverage and allowed three catches, but they went for a total of just four yards, with all four coming on one catch. He also recorded a sack, a hit and a hurry on the blitz, and his seven tackles and defensive stops led the team, and tied for the league lead among linebackers this week. This was an impact performance from Shazier that went a long way towards deciding the outcome of the game.
It seems to be a recurring theme to write of Shazier this way, starting with an “if”. If he can just do what he had done this week every week, he would be an All-Pro. And yes, I do believe that’s true. But of course he needs to be consistently healthy before he can hope to play consistently.