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Bell: 'We're still getting better'

Posted Oct 12, 2017

Running back anticipates improvement in the red zone.

The red zone hasn’t been a dead end for the Steelers this season, but nor have they found an easy pass to the end zone from the opponent’s the 20-yard line.

The search continues.

“We gotta go out there and do what works,” running back Le’Veon Bell offered. “We know plays that work. We know plays that haven’t worked. The plays that haven’t worked, I think we kinda scratch ’em, we move on. But we have plays down there that have worked. We gotta go back to those plays that work.”

That sounds simple enough.

But nothing worked for the Steelers in last Sunday’s 30-9 loss to Jacksonville.

They ran nine offensive snaps inside the Jaguars’ 20 and gained a combined total of 16 yards on three red zone penetrations, all of which ended in field goals.

Bell carried twice for 2 yards and caught two passes for 4 yards on the Steelers’ red zone possessions.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed three of seven attempts for 14 yards. He was 2-for-2 for 4 yards throwing to Bell, 1-for-2 for 10 yards to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, 0-for-1 to wide receiver Martavis Bryant and 0-for-2 to wide receiver Antonio Brown.

“We go against different defenses all the time, different looks,” Bell continued. “Sometimes it’s kind of a guessing game when you’re down there. You don’t really know what to expect or what the defense is going to show you, you have different players and personnel. We have to figure out a formula to where we have a certain identity whether the defense knows what we’re going to do or not.

“And we have to go out there and execute, I think that’s the biggest thing for us.”

The Steelers’ 0-for-3 red zone performance against Jacksonville dropped them into a tie for 16th place in the NFL in red zone offense on the season (nine touchdowns in 18 possessions for a success rate of 50 percent).

The Chiefs will greet the Steelers this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium having allowed opponents to cross the goal line from the red zone 52.6 percent of the time (10 times in 19 possessions, 12th in the NFL).

“We gotta get the ball in the end zone,” Bell said. “I know what y’all want me to say. Y’all want me to say ‘gimmie the ball.’ I just want to go out there and get the ‘W.’

“We’re still in the beginning of the season. Obviously, it’s the second game of the second quarter for us. We’re still getting better. Last week was a bad week for us in the (Jacksonville) game and I think for us it was good to have that game to kind of learn from. We’re going to continue to grow as a team. We’re still a young group and we have to put some things together for us to do what we want to do and that’s the ultimate goal, get to the Super Bowl.”