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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Mike Tomlin still bullish on Le'Veon Bell

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell rushed for just 34 yards and averaged 2.1 yards per carry in the Steelers' 19-6 win over the Jets.

That didn't stop coach Mike Tomlin from giving the rookie running back a vote of confidence Tuesday.

"I thought he ran very well," said Tomlin, who disputed that Bell missed what appeared to be open cut-back lanes against the Jets. "They've got some talented people up front and there weren't many holes. I thought he did a great job of putting the ball where it was supposed to be and running with the type of demeanor that we desire."

The Jets held Bell in check after he rushed for 57 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sept. 29 in his NFL debut.

Bell had a significant impact, however, on the only play that resulted in a touchdown. His runs of seven and two yards on the Steelers' first possession of the second half set up a third-and-1.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley called for a play-action pass, and the Jets bit on the fake. That left Emmanuel Sanders running free in the secondary, and he hauled in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.

For the second week in a row, Roethlisberger lavished praise on Bell during his weekly radio show.

"He really can be a very dynamic back in more ways than one," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan. "I don't think he's scratched the surface of how good he can be as a runner, as a complete back."

Roethlisberger said he has been impressed with how hard the 6-1, 244-pound Bell runs. That style, Roethlisberger said, will only make him harder to stop when defenders brace for a collision and Bell uses the shiftiness that is also a part of his game.

"If he keeps putting that on film, it's going to make defenders sit there and kind of second guess and then he can give those moves," Roethlisberger said.

The Steelers remain near the bottom of the NFL in rushing (61.0 yards per game), but Tomlin is confident they have the right back to vastly improve their ground game in Bell.

"We're going to continue to be a group in evolution there," Tomlin said of the running attack, "but I was not displeased with Le'Veon Bell and his performance [against the Jets] in any way."