As with all defenses that have faced Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, the New England Patriots’ understand theirs will be a unique challenge in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
It isn’t just stopping an incredible runner, but it’s also dealing with Bell’s incredible patience. No one in the NFL matches Bell’s ability to take the ball and pause behind his line as he looks for the biggest hole to open, then explode through it.
‘It’s definitely a unique style’
“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers told Alex Marvez and Mark Dominik on Late Hits. “You turn on the film and you just kind of throw your hands up like, ‘Man, this man’s still just behind the line, standing upright.’ You know he actually goes against a lot of things of football, but it’s working for him, working well for him.
“He’s able to take that style of running and run away with it. It’s definitely a unique style.”
‘You see how they blocked us, schemed us’
The Patriots’ defense has spent plenty of time studying video of New England’s 27-16 victory against the Steelers on Oct. 23, when Bell was held to 81 rushing yards and 3.9 yards per carry.
“You obviously can look back at the game and just see how they played us, see how they blocked us, schemed us and things like that,” Flowers said. “You get the, I guess, grand scheme of things as far as how they’re going to play us, but you also have to watch recent tape.”