Steelers notebook: Bell finds silver lining in defeat
OXBOROUGH, Mass. — Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers' rookie running back, has been up and down all season. But the ups were few in a 55-31 loss to New England at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
Still, Bell found a silver lining. He carried the ball 16 times for 74 yards, but 25 yards came on one attempt in the fourth quarter with the outcome settled.
“I think I had pretty decent game,” Bell said. “I did mess up a couple of times.”
Bell had a dropped pass and 15-yard chop block penalty in first quarter. He caught a 29-yard screen pass, but followed that with another drop inside the red zone. He also was stopped short of the first-down marker on fourth-and-1 when he missed an open seam up front.
While Bell struggled, Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 30 yards on his only attempt.
“I still have to get better at a lot of little detail things,” he said. “I have to continue to get better every game.”
Fighting to the end
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he never considered pulling himself from the game late in the fourth quarter to prevent risking injury. For the second game in a row, he was sacked five times.
“I wouldn't have (sat out),” said Roethlisberger, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. “They would have had to drag me off. I'm not going to quit. I'm going to stay out there and fight until the end.
Roethlisberger put up good numbers: 400 yards passing and four touchdowns. But the Patriots hit him 12 times and consistently flushed him from the pocket.
Steelers' injury report
The Steelers lost two players — cornerback Ike Taylor and linebacker Vince Williams — with concussion-like symptoms. Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert injured his right ankle in the second half.
Heyward shines in defeat
Defensive end Cam Heyward was perhaps the lone bright spot on a defense that played its worst game in franchise history. Heyward recorded his first sack of the season.
“Steve (McLendon) got good pressure and they all slid,” said Heyward, who added five tackles and two quarterback hits.
The Steelers had three sacks, but it wasn't enough to rattle Tom Brady. “In the first half, I missed a couple of assignments and I messed up a couple of times. There's not one thing I can think of that they did that was overly surprising. We just didn't get the job done.”
Linebacker Jason Worilds provided most of the pressure on Brady. He had two sacks, two tackles for losses and two quarterback pressures while rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones had only an assist.
Looking for a fight
Defensive end Brett Keisel said the challenge facing the Steelers isn't finding a way into the playoffs, but rather a way of picking themselves up after a humbling defeat.
“We just got to get up and fight,” Keisel said. “We've all been in fights. We've all been knocked down. A lot of character is going to be on display this next week to see how we respond to getting beat like this. I think we will respond accordingly.”
However, Keisel and others made similar remarks after getting surprised by the Oakland Raiders last weekend. They will now face a Buffalo team that fought to the end before losing to unbeaten Kansas City.