Bell makes the most of his return


THE BELL TOLLS:** It wasn't just what RB Le'Veon Bell did on Sunday night that got QB Ben Roethlisberger's attention.

It was all Bell had done and all the Steelers had asked him to do in advance of his much-anticipated 2016 debut that resonated with a guy who had just thrown for 300 yards and five touchdowns.

"I thought he really stepped up," Roethlisberger said of Bell, who carried 18 times for 144 yards and caught five passes for 34 more yards in the Steelers' 43-14 dismantling of Kansas City on Sunday night at Heinz Field.

"We asked him to do a lot, not just in this game but (last) week in practice, not just be a running back and run the ball. We put him in motion, we put him at wide receiver, we threw screens to him, we did a lot. And that's the confidence and faith we have in him and his ability and how he can help this team and how he is a selfless player willing to do whatever it takes to help us win."

WR Antonio Brown expected nothing less from Bell.

"Anytime he's out there you know what he's going to give you, what he's going to bring," said Brown, who caught two of Roethlisberger's five scoring passes. "It was great having him out there."

Bell felt the same way, whether he was running, catching or blocking.

"I definitely missed it, all of my teammates, obviously coming out here and getting wins," he said. "It felt real good.

"I didn't really feel like I was rusty. I felt like I was more anxious than anything. Once I got out there, I was like 'I just need my first hit, then I'll be good.' I think my first hit was actually on a catch instead of a run. So I think that helped me a lot. Then I started blocking a little bit, so I got popped a couple of times. Then, once I got my carries, it felt normal, I was in the flow of the game."

AMENDS MADE AS ANTICIPATED: S Mike Mitchell had publicly insisted after the Steelers' 34-3 loss on Sept. 25 in Philadelphia that the mistakes the Steelers had made against the Eagles were correctable and would be corrected against the Chiefs.

As if on schedule, a defense that had repeatedly missed tackles and assignments against Philadelphia came up with multiple sacks (four) and turnovers (two) against Kansas City while pitching the Steelers' first first-half shutout since Dec. 29, 2013 against Cleveland.

Game action from Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"It's not what I'm supposed to say, it's what I believe in my heart," Mitchell said of his Philadelphia declaration. "I was reading my Twitter feed after I said that and everybody was like, 'he's cocky, he's arrogant,' I just believe in my brothers.

"I told you we were going to make proper adjustments. I really felt like, Philly's a good football team but it was more about our lack of execution. I said we would make the corrections, we made those corrections and it showed up on the scoreboard."

SECONDARY BY COMMITTEE: The defense played without starting LB Ryan Shazier and starting S Robert Golden.

Shazier's replacement, LB Vince Williams, came up with a game-high 15 tackles (13 solo).

The answer minus Golden was provided by S Jordan Dangerfield, who started for the first time, and by CB Justin Gilbert, who replaced Dangerfield periodically in one of the Steelers' variations on the five-defensive backs theme.

At times, the five-defensive backs "nickel" package consisted of starting cornerbacks Stephon Tuitt and William Gay, cornerback Artie Burns and safeties Dangerfield and Mitchell.

At times Mitchell was joined by four corners, Cockrell, Gay, Burns and Gilbert, who played his first defensive snaps with the Steelers (Gay or Cockrell appeared to be playing a safety-type role in those instances).

"I don't think we changed much," Cockrell said. "The mentality's still the same. We're defensive backs at the end of the day and our main job is to get the football and that's what we did.

"We're just trying to rotate, give people different looks, keep people on their toes."

Cockrell was impressed by Gilbert's contribution.

"He worked all week," Cockrell said. "Just getting into the swing of things he's been working and learning since he got here but now he's putting it on the grass for us, and that's a good thing to see."

THEY SAID IT: "It was a total team win. We win as a team, we lose as a team. I thought it was a dominant performance by us in just about every phase." _ Mitchell on beating Kansas City.

"I told the guys before the game, we are driving a car and we don't have a rearview mirror. We aren't looking back, we are looking forward. Last week was one of those days, we have all had them. We move on and I thought we did a good job of moving on." _ Roethlisberger on rebounding from the loss in Philadelphia and beating Kansas City.

"I don't know that we reinvented the wheel schematically. The acknowledgement and the congratulations should go to the guys. I thought they made it come alive." _ Head coach Mike Tomlin on winning without Shazier, Golden, WR Eli Rogers and OG Ramon Foster, among others.

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