It’s always fun to watch a snowy game played between two storied franchises, since it seems old school. Le’Veon Bell has quickly become a favorite among Pittsburgh Steelers fans for playing at a high level in critical games, and we all remember just how good he was in the Thanksgiving loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Yesterday, however, his top-notch performance against the Green Bay Packers wasn’t wasted, as the Steelers prevailed 38-31.
The Steelers clearly wanted to dictate terms by running early and often, and Le’Veon Bell delivered. He carried the rock 26 times for 124 yards, and his touchdown plunge with 1:25 left made up for a costly fumble near his own end zone that led to an easy TD run for Packers standout rookie back Eddie Lacy. In a bad-weather game, both teams leaned on their rookie running backs, and both backs delivered. Lacy has been the better RB this season and was great yesterday, but it was Bell who stole the show with his 124 yards in the victory.
Two things I really like about Bell are his vision and rushing style. He knows where to find the hole, and he runs with authority through the gap once he is able to find it. Bell is also a quality pass-catcher out of the backfield, though he had just one reception for five yards on three targets yesterday.
Green Bay’s Lacy finished with 84 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in another great performance, and hopefully Lacy’s ankle aggravation isn’t bad enough to limit him next week against the Chicago Bears. Though the Packers lost, they haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, and whoever wins next week’s high-stakes, rivalry game (there’s a revenge storyline to it, too) between the Packers and Chicago Bears will win the NFC North. The Packers will need Lacy next week even if Aaron Rodgers returns, especially since the Bears run defense is arguably the worst in the league (they allowed two 100-yard rushers last week).
Meanwhile, the Steelers kept their unlikely playoff hopes alive by winning this nail-biter of a game. Thanks to Le’Veon Bell and a solid performance from Ben Roethlisberger (he’s been solid all year), the Steelers can actually make the playoffs if a few things happen. Firstly, the Steelers have to take care of business against the Cleveland Browns (it should be easy, but you never know). Then, they have to hope that the Jets beat the Dolphins, the Bengals beat the Ravens, and the Chiefs beat the Chargers. It’s not likely for every single one of those scenarios to happen, but it isn’t unrealistic either.