An injured Ben Roethlisberger wound up attempting 34 passes during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 30-15 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. Meanwhile, the ground attack was an afterthought, as Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell carried only 10 times.
It’s a discrepancy Bell noticed, according to Dave Lolley for the Observer-Reporter, and one he doesn’t sound too thrilled about. While the fourth-year back is an excellent receiver as well, based on his comments there’s no question he would like to see more rushing attempts in the Steelers offense going forward.
“Sometimes we do get to a point where we’re passing the ball a lot,” said Bell, who led the Steelers with 6 receptions at Miami. “I just feel like they want to utilize me in the passing game a lot. The offensive line likes running the ball. I like to do what they like to do. When they feel like they can dominate someone up front, I’m always with them.”
Bell also told Lolley he’s not somebody who complains about carries, and seemed to be placing much of the onus on Pittsburgh’s offensive line, adding, “If they want to run the ball, we need to run the ball.”
Of course, this sounds an awful lot like a complaint, and merely claiming it isn’t one doesn’t make it so. Bell is absolutely suggesting the Steelers need to run the football more, although that isn’t really going out on a limb this week with Roethlisberger ruled out for Sunday.
And Bell does have a point. Even with a quarterback as prolific as Roethlisberger at the helm, handing the ball off on occasion keeps defenses honest, something Pittsburgh’s game plan failed to do in Miami. Sure, they were trailing for a large chunk of the game, but not enough to abandon the run. The same thing could be said of the Steelers’ loss in Philadelphia three weeks earlier.
After missing the first three games of the season with a suspension, Bell is fresh and ready to carry the load. He’s likely to get the opportunity too, at least until Roethlisberger comes back, so he better be ready to back up the talk.