Tha Sports Junkies 101

Le’Veon Bell’s Historic Snow Day Leads Steelers To Victory

steelers snow bell Kevin Piatt via flickr


Le’Veon Bell plows through snow and the Buffalo Bills to lead the Steelers to victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers knew that if they were going to win in the snow, they were going to have run the football. Todd Haley and his offense did just that as they rode the back of their star runner Le’Veon Bell. The 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills puts the Steelers back on top of the AFC North for the time being.

The best unit for the Steelers over the last month has been the defense, and they didn’t disappoint. On the Bills first offensive play, rookie Sean Davis and Stephon Tuitt sacked Tyrod Taylor on a play that would set the tone for the day. The defense would finish the day with five sacks, and Sean Davis found himself in on three of them. The defensive rookies have stepped up huge this season, and they continued on Sunday when Artie Burns caught his third interception in his first season in the NFL. Burns talked about his improvement.

“I have just been working. I just feel like it’s something I owe to my team. I missed some tackles earlier this season. I owe that to my team to keep working on it and getting better week in and week out. I feel like I let my team down on some plays. I feel like I have to hold myself to a standard everybody holds themselves to.”

Hearing those words from a rookie is exactly what the Steelers need, accountability. Early in the season, the Steelers were struggling with penalties and composure but it has been the exact opposite of that during their five game winning streak. Ryan Shazier has been a prime example of consistency throughout the season, and he finished with the highest grade among Steelers defenders on Pro Football Focus with an 84.5. Bud Dupree had one of his best days as well, as he led the team with seven pressures on Tyrod Taylor which led to a score of 74.2.

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On a day where the snow would fall the entire game, it was critical for the defense to play as well as they did, but it may not have mattered with the way the Steelers were running the football. Le’Veon Bell ran for 236 yards on an incredible 38 carries, and ended with the second-most all-purpose yards in Steelers history with 298. He single handedly matched up with the Bills stats, by scoring the same amount of touchdowns (3), had more yard yards than the Bills entire offense (275), and touched the ball 44 times compared to the Bills 48 plays.

But Bell‘s big day would not be what it was with the help of some flawless blocking by the offensive line and the use of fullback Roosevelt Nix. The patience of Bell allowed Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert get to the second level of the defense time and time again. There have not been many times this season where the Steelers have used Roosevelt Nix, but when they decided to lean heavily on the run he was there. Le’Veon Bell commented on his big day, and how important Nix level of play was.

“I made sure I gave him the game ball because he deserved it. That (third) touchdown was really him lead blocking. It was one of the best games I’ve ever played with him for sure. It was a great game for him. You gotta give a lot of credit to those guys up front, those guys made my job easy. They helped get me to the second level, and they opened up a lot of holes.”

The win, along with the Baltimore Ravens loss late on Monday Night Football, has put the Steelers back in sole possession of first place in the AFC North. The Steelers travel to play against the Cincinnati Bengals for their final road game of their season, where they look to get the season sweep over their division opponent. With the weather report showing no snow for next Sunday, hopefully Ben Roethlisberger will have a better day.

Statistics and quotes referenced via Pro Football Focus and Pittsburgh Steelers media guide.