Albeit in a losing effort, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Benny Snell Jr. had a good showing Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals as the former fourth round draft pick out of Kentucky totaled 107 yards from scrimmage on his 21 total touches with usual starting running back James Conner sitting out the contest with a quadricep injury. While Snell received some minor praise for his play Monday night from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger immediately after the game, the latter had a little more to say about the young running back during his Wednesday media session.
“I thought Benny [Snell] brought a nice energy and nice physicality, got us some tough yards when we needed it, also made some guys miss and got to the outside,” Roethlisberger said on Wednesday “It was nice to have that. I’m not sure what James [Conner]’s status is [this week], but I know when he comes back, he will be excited and champing at the bit.”
In total, Snell carried the football 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown Monday night against the Bengals in addition to catching three passes for 23 yards. It marked the first time since the Steelers Week 6 game against the Tennessee Titans that the team had a running back register 100 or more total yards from scrimmage in a game. That running back in Week 6 was Conner. Snell, by the way, totaled 113 yards from scrimmage in the Steelers Week 1 road win against the New York Giants.
Judging by comments made on Tuesday by Tomlin, Snell is in line to get a lot of work on Sunday in the team’s home game against the Indianapolis Colts and even if Conner is over his quadricep injury and thus able to play in that contest. Snell, however, appears to be every bit of the kind of running back that gets better as a game goes on and he receives more touches. Will he be afforded the same opportunity to warm up without playtime interruption against the Colts on Sunday? We’ll see as it’s hard to judge if that will ultimately be the case based on what Roethlisberger said on Wednesday.
“We have a handful of capable guys who really can help us win, but we all need to put it together at the same time,” Roethlisberger said in response to the question he was asked about Snell.