Have you ever noticed when a person rings a bell that there’s an art to it? They just don’t hold it a certain way, and it has a certain sound to it. To be honest, that’s all I know about ringing bells, but one thing I know for sure: the right people know how to ring it.
Such as the case with the Pittsburgh Steelers as they traveled to Buffalo to play the Bills in in climate weather knowing that the snow as falling and the winds were blowing. In layman’s terms, it’s a terror for quarterbacks, which was proven correct as QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for three interceptions, one that was a miscommunication with WR Antonio Brown and the other an end zone snafu that was intended for TE Jesse James. Bills QB Tyrod Taylor also struggled as he was sacked five times and was intercepted once. But he was also able to pass for two touchdowns and orchestrate a late drive that ended with another.
But none of that mattered. Why? Because the Steelers knew how to ring the Bell, that is Le’Veon Bell. The 4th-year Steelers RB was called upon to do the one thing that God created running backs to do in snowy conditions: Run the ball. And did he ever as he ran around and over the Bills defense for a team record 236 yards and three touchdowns, which were all that the Steelers needed as they beat the Bills 27-20. The other 6 points came via K Shaun Suisham who made two field goals in his return after missing last week’s game with an injury.
For a minute there it seemed like the Steelers offense tried to resist sticking with the run as Big Ben was trying to get the ball to his receivers, namely Brown who in my opinion, is still the best WR in the game. Brown did have a decent game as he caught five passes for 78 yards, but he didn’t do much in the second half, which is a good thing because it wasn’t a day for passing the ball.
Just ask Big Ben.
The Steelers Signal-caller didn’t have his best games, and when he usually plays a game this statistically bad the Steelers lose, but for once they didn’t need Big Ben to win the game and to be honest, I hadn’t seen that happen since his first two years. In the league when they were still a run-first team and relied mostly on Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and eventually Willie Parker to set the tone.
Well, I believe the Steelers did have ‘Bettis’ on the field in this game, or at least what resembled Bettis as Bell destroyed the Bills defense as he broke Parker’s record for yards (225) and had more yards in a game than even Bettis and Franco Harris. In fact, Harris only rushed for 200 yards once in his career and Bettis did as an LA Ram, but not a Steeler. And Bell already has 2 in his 4-year career. Bell also caught two passes for 62 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the second time in his young career. Impressive.
I like when Big Ben lets loose as much as the next Steelers fan, but I grew up watching Harris, Rocky Bleier, and Bettis run that ball. I also remember Barry Foster, who still has the season yardage record with 1,690 yards and of course I remember Parker, who still has a record for the longest TD run in the Super Bowl (75) but none of them got it done like Bell did in this game.
I was also impressed with the defense in the first half as they chased Taylor around the field and sacked him four times, in the first quarter alone. DE Stephon Tuitt had a half sack, which he shared with rookie safety Sean Davis, who also had a sack of his own. LB Ryan Shazier had one of his own, but the defensive star was clearly 2nd year LB Bud Dupree who had two sacks on the day, his first 2 of the season. I’m so glad that defensive coordinator Keith Butler has decided to let these guys loose. They did enough to keep the Bills off the board until their first TD.
However, I was not impressed with how the defense played in the 4th quarter. The Defense looked like they were in cruise control, as if the game was already won, and reverted to their old ways: Missing tackles leaving receivers wide open and making Taylor look like Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, for at least 7 minutes. Frankly, at one point, the Steelers defense resembled the University of Pittsburgh Basketball team, and that’s not a compliment.
But those late scores had no effect on the outcome, which resulted in the Steelers 4th straight victory, after losing four straight…4 weeks ago. The Steelers are now 8-5 and currently are alone in first place in the AFC North. They can stay there a little while longer if the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens Monday night, but the key to the Steelers ticket to the postseason will be to keep winning, and that includes a victory over those Ravens Christmas Day.
So now the Steelers will travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals next Sunday, and after beating them early in the season, they can go for the season sweep.
These past few weeks have revealed the secret to the Steelers success after their 4-5 start, and one of them is plainly obvious: They just have to Ring the Bell. www.steelers.com
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