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Steelers rank last in rushing through first 4 weeks of season

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense isn’t just the same without running back Le’Veon Bell in the backfield.  Although second-year tailback James Conner has shown much improvement, the fact remains that he’s not as good as Bell is.

Adam Schefter of ESPN underlined how much the Steelers are missing on the offense without Bell by stating some statistical gospels.

Steelers certainly could use Le’Veon Bell. Steelers rank last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (43.3) and yards per rush (2.8) since Week 2, and their 19 rushing yards in Week 4 were their fewest in a game since 1970.

Backfield production initially did not look like it’s going to be this big of a problem for the Steelers, as they saw Conner rush for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 31 carries back in Week 1’s 21-21 draw with the Cleveland Browns. It has gone downhill for the Steelers’ ground attack since.

The Steelers’ offense has become too dependent on the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which has made the team a lot more predictable for their opponents. The Steelers are third in the league in pass play percentage (70.65) through four weeks of the season. Conversely, they are just 30th in rushing play percentage (29.53). Last season, the Steelers ran 40.3 percent of their plays through the ground.

Clearly, the significant decrease of Pittsburgh’s reliance on their running backs is a direct effect of Bell’s absence, though, there are reports that he could return to the team as soon as the team’s Week 7 bye,