Name an offense that is better than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stat-wise they were not the best team in the NFL but realistically there is no team better.
For years, defense has been associated with the Steelers but in 2014 that changed when Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown decided they wanted to have their jersey’s and accomplishments mentioned with the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis.
In 2014, his 2nd year Bell came alive, rushing for 1381 yards and 8 TDs (rushing) but he brought another element that was missing from the Steelers playbook. He added the Matt Forte attack. Bell is just as much a polished receiver as he is a runner as he finished that year with 83 receptions for 853 yards and 3 TDs.
As for the second weapon in their attack he has quietly become the best receiver in the NFL. Brown over the last two seasons has caught 265 passes on 374 targets for 3,532 yards and 23 TDs. Why is he not considered the best?
But this is where his numbers get more impressive. In 2014 Bell caught 85 passes to Brown’s 129, and in 2015 with Bell on the IR the wealth was still shared as WRs Martavis Bryant (50/765/6), Markus Wheaton (44/749/5) and TE Heath Miller (60/535/2) all got in on the action.
But the star is and always will be QB Ben Roethlisberger. He is the reason the offense is able to flow the way that it does. Big Ben put up career numbers in 2014 with 4,952 passing yards, 32 TDs and only 8 INTs but he seemed to be an afterthoughts as Bell and Brown somehow made the headlines with their stats. That’s what happens when you already have 2 Super Bowl rings to your collection.
In 2015, injuries hit Ben but the Steelers offense kept moving thanks to the cast of characters mentioned before, but we cannot forget the contributions that backup QBs Michael Vick and Landry Jones made while steering this high-powered attack in his absence.
What’s scary is how much better they will be in 2016.
Bell will be back at full strength but the Steelers know they have another weapon with veteran RB DeAngelo Williams (907/11) to share the backfield with, while keeping wear and tear off both players for a playoff run. Brown is back to continue his dominance over any secondary he faces but another season and more experience for WR Wheaton should bring greater excitement for fans.
The real issue will be if Darrius Heyward-Bey can finally live up to expectations as he is sure to see more action with the suspension of Bryant.
I for one am not going to count out Big Ben and Co and this explosive offense as they look to proved that the old Steelers way is not the only way to win a championship.