More than one way to run the ball

A look at Steelers 27, Bills 20 via the magic of the DVR:


BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY:** Running back Le'Veon Bell's franchise-record 236 rushing yards on 38 carries were gained a variety of ways, out of necessity, head coach Mike Tomlin maintained, against a "myriad" of Bills' defensive fronts.

"We were running pretty good regardless of what we had out there," Tomlin said.

With one exception.

When Bell ran from a formation that included wide receivers Antonio Brown and Landry Jones, and tight ends Jesse James and David Johnson, the play was stopped for no gain.

The other six personnel groups the Steelers concocted gashed the Bills repeatedly.

The breakdown:

Three wide receivers (Brown, Hamilton and Eli Rogers), a tight end (Ladarius Green) and Bell: Six carries for 45 yards (a 7.5 average per carry), including gains of 11 and 16 yards.

Three wide receivers (Brown, Hamilton and Rogers), a tight end (James) and Bell: Three carries for 13 yards (4.3), including a 3-yard touchdown.

"No. 74 is eligible" (extra offensive lineman Chris Hubbard), a tight end (James), a wide receiver (Brown) a fullback (Roosevelt Nix) and Bell: A total of 15 attempts netted 63 yards (4.2), including touchdown runs of 7 and 5 yards (Bell wasn't touched on either one). Three attempts were stopped for no gain, including Bell's final two carries of the game.

"No. 74 is eligible" (Hubbard), two tight ends (James and Johnson), a wide receiver (Brown) and Bell: The result was eight carries for 45 yards (5.6), including gains of 10 and 14 yards.

Two wide receivers (Brown and Hamilton), a tight end (Johnson), a fullback (Nix) and Bell: Four carries for 58 yards (14.5), including Bell's two longest runs on the afternoon (33 and 24 yards) and his only negative carry (a loss of 1).

Two wide receivers (Brown and Rogers), two tight ends (James and Green) and Bell: one carry for 12 yards (12.0).

Hubbard was on the field for 23 Bell runs that resulted in 108 yards (4.7) and two touchdowns.

Nix was in the game for 19 Bell carries that gained 121 yards (6.4).


SURROUNDING SHADY:** The emphasis on defense was to afford Bills running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor as little running room as humanly possible, to make Taylor have to beat the Steelers with his arm.

Everyone apparently got the message.

Taylor was sacked five times and, thanks in no small part to a consistently disciplined pass rush, managed only 2 yards on three carries.

McCoy carried 12 times for 27 yards. One was for a 3-yard touchdown. On the other 11, he drew a crowd.

On nine of his attempts, McCoy was either held to no gain, lost yardage, was initially contacted at the line of scrimmage or had to make a move in the backfield before getting to the line.

No wonder he averaged 2.3 yards per carry.

Cornerback Artie Burns, defensive lineman L.T. Walton, linebacker Bud Dupree, linebacker Ryan Shazier (two times), strong safety Sean Davis and defensive end Stephon Tuitt were credited with solo tackles on McCoy.

Cornerback William Gay and Shazier (two times), Gay and cornerback Stephon Tuitt, and Cockrell and defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews shared stops on McCoy.

The pursuit was such that there always seemed to be a defender or three lurking to make a tackle on McCoy in the event one would be missed (linebacker William Gay, Tuitt, Gay, Shazier, Dupree, Mathews, Davis, free safety Robert Golden and free safety Mike Mitchell were in such positions).


HE SAID IT:** "Don't you think it's about time Todd Haley gets another head job in the NFL, the league that's void of good offensive coordinators? How many years does he have to do it here in Pittsburgh and show all the ingenuity, everything they do, all the packages, and what he's done for Ben Roethlisberger, before he gets another chance?" _ CBS analyst Phil Simms on Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

"Watch No. 67 pull around there. And this man can run. Finney looks like a big fullback, doesn't he? He just got so big he had to put his hand on the ground. He's in great shape. Boy, can he run." _ Simms on Steelers guard B.J. Finney.

"It's everything. It's his style, the offensive line. And the great thing is he can do it inside, outside. He doesn't seem to take a lot of punishment. You don't see him getting held up, an extra guy hitting him." _ Simms on Bell.

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