By Delaney Baumis
The Steelers need to play better overall this week if they want to win against the Ravens. It is as simple as that. The offensive line needs to protect Ben Roethlisberger more than they did against the Bears, Le’Veon Bell needs to be the Le’Veon Bell from the 2016 season or somewhere close, and the other receivers need to start getting open on their routes.
Roethlisberger was sacked three times last Sunday including a strip sack that the Bears recovered. If the offensive line continues to leave Roethlisberger open to be taken down then they will not do well against the Ravens. The Bears capitalized on all of the Steelers mistakes in week three and the Ravens will look to do the same this week. If the offensive line steps up and does their job, then that will allow Bell to have the holes to gain more rushing yards.
So far this season, Bell has not looked his best. He has only averaged 60 yards rushing per game this season, and only has 180 total rushing yards thru three games. That is not the Le’Veon Bell that the Steelers have come to rely on. In 2016 he averaged 105.7 yards on the ground. The last two years, each carry averaged 4.9 yards. This year it is only 3.5 yards. See the difference here? The Steelers need Bell to break through and gain those rushing yards that he had last season in order to be successful.
In addition Bell needs to get more involved as a receiver to give Roethlisberger another target through the air; they need more than just Antonio Brown to advance their receiving corp.
Roethlisberger has a good group of receivers already, but they could be great. Brown is the center of the group; however, in order to get him more single coverage opportunities Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers need to make use of every chance they get to catch the ball.
While they are both good targets, they needs to come up with more receptions. That would then eliminate double and sometimes even triple coverage on Brown, who we all know will come down with almost every ball that is thrown in his vicinity.
Right now it is exciting to see someone as young as JuJu Smith-Schuster being able to contribute as much as he is. By working Smith-Schuster into the lineup more against the Ravens, it could prove to be beneficial for the whole offense.