Many are wondering why the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
To most it appeared to be a reach. To the Steelers draft room the only reach was to pat each other on the back for another mission accomplished.
It doesn’t take much game film review to realize what a tragic comedy the Steelers’ running game was in 2012. And similarly why a top flight rookie running back could quickly mend their roster.
The Steelers’ eight losses played like reruns, coming to the league’s biggest losers including the Browns, Titans and even Raiders. Each loss was filled with the clanks of a choking and sputtering running game in need of a new engine.
WEEK 3: OAKLAND WINS 38-13
Cruising to a victory after three quarters, the Steelers couldn’t seal the deal. The lowly Raiders rang up 13 points to serve up the first kick to the teeth of the season. The Steelers running backs had a whopping 45 yards and Jonathan Dwyer also coughed up a fumble. A sign of things to come.
WEEK 6: TITANS WIN 26-23
Ex-Steeler Rob Bironas kicks the late game winner, carrying the eventual 6-10 Titans over the Steelers. It was another 40 yards for the running backs. The trio of Isaac Redman, Baron Batch and Rashard Mendenhall ran for only 42 yards on 21 carries. Abysmal.
WEEK 12: BROWNS WIN 20-14
Just when we thought the running game could not be any worse, the Steelers drove across state lines into the Dawg Pound. It was another 20 carries for less than 50 yards by the running crew. Even more alarming were their four lost fumbles, one for each running back in uniform.
WEEK 14: CHARGERS WIN 34-24
Norv Turner’s last stand in a Chargers headset came thanks in part to the Steelers offense’s inability to keep Philip Rivers off the field. With a bange- up secondary, the Steelers knew their defense needed more time on the sidelines than on the field. Ben Roethlisberger, still recuperating from the his shoulder/rib injury, threw for all three touchdowns and 285 yards. The running game’s contribution? A whole 38 yards.