The New England Patriots will face a tough test against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field, even with Ben Roethlisberger officially ruled out. Pittsburgh still boasts two of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the league in wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gushed about Bell during his Wednesday morning press conference. Before a reporter could finish asking his question about the Steelers pro bowler, Belichick rattled off a laundry list of Bell’s skills.
“Oh my god. Tremendous player,” the coach said. ”Great hands catching the ball, very quick, makes people miss, strong, breaks tackles, excellent balance, tough, doesn’t run out of bounds, fights for extra yardage, great player.”
Belichick later called Bell “as good as anybody” in the NFL.
Bell was suspended for Pittsburgh’s first three games of the season. In his season debut against the Kansas City Chiefs, he ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and added 34 yards through the air. Bell has surpassed 100 total yards in each of his three games for the Steelers.
Belichick was also complimentary of DeAngelo Williams, the running back who started in Bell’s place to begin the year.
“He’s had a tremendous career, really one of the all-time great careers,” Belichick said. “Statistically, he’s been tremendous. Again, they have a lot of depth at every position, they have a lot of depth at running back. It doesn’t matter who’s in there, they’re a problem.”
The Patriots are ninth in the NFL in run defense, allowing 92 yards per game and just 3.7 yards per rushing attempt.