Bell, Green star as Steelers snap Giants' winning streak

Le'Veon Bell became the first running back this season to rush for 100 yards versus the improved Giants' defense, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a convincing 24-14 victory over New York in Week 13. Here's what we learned:

  1. The Steelers have been trending toward a slightly more conservative, screen-heavy offense with Bell as the centerpiece. The transformation has paid off with a reduction in sacks and turnovers while Bell has averaged an astonishing 175 yards from scrimmage over the last three weeks -- all Pittsburgh victories. Hall of Famer Jim Brown averaged an NFL-record 125.5 yards from scrimmage in his unparalleled nine-year career. Bell is right on his heels, averaging 124.6 in 44 career games.
  1. Led by Eli Apple's two takeaways and Olivier Vernon's sixth and seventh sacks in the last five games, the Giants' flourishing defense held its own on the road. After picking on cupcake opponents during a six-game winning streak, though, the offense's woes came home to roost. Prior to Sterling Shepard's garbage-time touchdown in the game's final minute, New York's lone score was a 13-yard screen pass to Rashad Jennings, capitalizing on a Bell fumble inside Pittsburgh's 17-yard line. After scoring 30 or more points five times last season, the Giants are one of just five teams (Texans, 49ers, Bears, Browns) not to reach that mark this year. They entered the week tied for 30th in big plays and are on pace for their worst rushing attack since 1945. To top it all off, Eli Manning's arm seems to be growing weaker each game as he consistently underthrows receivers on passes over 20 yards.
  1. For three months, the Steelers have been auditioning stand-ins for suspended star Martavis Bryant as the second fiddle opposite Brown. They might have finally found their answer in Ladarius Green, who is steadily earning Ben Roethlisberger's trust after missing the first half of the season due to injury. The former Chargers tight end was a big-play machine Sunday, riddling New York's defense for gains of 37, 33 and a 20-yard touchdown. If early-season deep threat Sammie Coates recovers from two broken fingers to add another downfield weapon, this offense will rival Oakland's as the class of the AFC.
  1. As Roethlisberger approached his mid-30s, the Steelers asked him to alter his sandlot playing style in favor of a more cerebral approach that would lead to more consistency and fewer sacks. Although he's now one of the NFL's least-sacked quarterbacks in Todd Haley's quick-hitting offense, Roethlisberger served a reminder Sunday that he's still a master of extending plays and finding receivers downfield for big gains. After improvising a 37-yard floater to Green and a spectacular 22-yard touchdown to Brown in the first half, he answered the Giants' first score of the game with a textbook seven-play, 88-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter. Roethlisberger thoroughly outplayed his classmate from the 2004 quarterback draft.
  1. While the Steelers kept pace with the Ravens atop the AFC North, the Giants fell three games behind the Cowboys as they prepare to host Dallas in Week 14. After taking advantage of teams with a combined 20-46-1 record during their winning streak, the G-Men face a quartet of foes with a 30-17-1 record in the final four weeks. Worse, they might be without the services of one of their most valuable playmakers, as Jason Pierre-Paul was quickly ruled out after exiting Sunday's game with a groin injury.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content