Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell certainly made his way around radio row on Friday in Minneapolis, MN ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl game and in addition to talking quite a bit about his current contract situation, the 2017 First-Team All-Pro also talked about his team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Rounds of the playoffs during an interview with Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney from CBS Sports Radio.
During the interview, Bell indicated that the Jaguars wanted it more than the Steelers did in that game at Heinz Field nearly three full weeks ago and especially in the first half.
“We didn’t play good,” Bell said. “Jacksonville came out and they wanted it more than us. We didn’t start playing good football, for real, on offense, until the second half.”
Bell went on to say that right from the start of the game it was obvious that the Jaguars were the team that collectively had more energy.
“For me, when I was out there playing, I had a sense they were playing with more energy,” Bell said. “You know, it’s not necessarily the talent, it’s like, I get my first carry, they’re in the backfield and then getting up talking trash. They had more energy, you know what I’m saying.”
Bell was then asked if he knew the reason why his team lacked energy early in that game and his answer included a little finger pointing.
“I did, but you can’t control everybody, you know what I’m saying. I did, I wanted that game badly,” Bell said.
The Steelers running back was then asked to confirm that some of his teammates weren’t ready for the game against the Jaguars and he didn’t hold back while answering the question..
“Certain guys out there who was not ready to play football,” Bell stated. “Don’t get me wrong, guys woke up in the second half, but it’s like, it’s kinda too late.”
Bell was asked if that was the result of complacency, or his team just looking past the Jaguars.
“I dont know, maybe it was the bye week,” Bell said. “You know what I’m saying? I dont know. Maybe we needed to play. Last year when we were the three-seed just like the Jaguars were, we came out there beating everybody because we had that little swagger about us. I feel like guys got complacent, we had a bye week, we’re at home, we’re playing the Jaguars, it’s whatever. That’s how guys looked at it, you know. I already knew the Jaguars were good, we played them earlier in the year.”
It’s interesting the Bell seems to forget about his tweet ahead of the game against the Jaguars in which he stated that he was looking forward to playing the New England Patriots again in the AFC Championship game. Additionally, while it didn’t seem to affect his performance against the Jaguars, Bell was also reportedly late for the Steelers Saturday walk-through practice ahead of that contest in addition to being a little late on game day as well.
Bell’s comments during the interview that the Steelers offense was flat early on in the game are certainly true. With that said, the Steelers defense was just as flat as the offense was and before you knew it the team was down 21-0.
“We’ve got to play good in the beginning of the game, Bell said. “We wasn’t doing that and I could sense it. And sometimes it’s hard to get out and get your teammates going. You need a play, you need something to happen and that kind of gets guys sparked when a play happens.”
The Steelers offense did indeed finally start making plays in the second half but sadly, the Jaguars offense continued to make plays as well and that’s why they held on for the win.
You can hear Bell’s entire interview below: