Steelers notebook: Bell knocked out of game, treated for possible concussion
BALTIMORE – Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell was knocked out of the game during the Steelers' final drive in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 22-20 loss at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night. He was taken to the locker room, and treated for a possible concussion after his helmet was knocked after getting tackled by cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Bell scored an apparent touchdown, but he was ruled down short of the 1-yard line when an official review determined his helmet came off before he scored. By rule, the play is considered dead once the helmet came off.
Bell patiently waited to break off a big run. It finally happened early in the third quarter with the Steelers trailing 10-0. Bell ripped off a career-best 43-yarder to give the Steelers first and goal at the Baltimore 8.
Bell's run set up an 8-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Bell seemingly gathered some momentum after being held to only 21 yards on nine carries in the first half — 2.3 yards per carry. Bell finished with 73 yards on 16 attempts.
Keisel, Beachum among injured
Steelers veteran defensive end Brett Keisel couldn't make it through the game. Keisel, replaced by Ziggy Hood, aggravated his injured right foot in the first half.
Keisel, who missed the two previous games against Detroit and Cleveland, struggled to get up field to pressure quarterback Joe Flacco. Keisel will have 10 days to recover as the Steelers next play on Dec. 8 against Miami at Heinz Field.
Four offensive linemen were injured, all in the second half. Tackle Kelvin Beachum injured his right knee, tackle Mike Adams (ankle), center Fernando Velasco (ankle) and guard David DeCastro (foot) suffered injuries in the fourth quarter.
Velasco was wearing a walking boot in the locker room after the game.
Tomlin tows the line
The Ravens' fans cried foul as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin appeared to inadvertently interfere with Jacoby Jones on a kickoff return in the third quarter. The officials did not assess the Steelers a penalty, but the defense held Baltimore to field goal after Jones' 73-yard kickoff return.
“I don't know if he saw me coming or not, but I looked and asked, “are you going to move?' I had to move out of his way, then weaved back into the defender (cornerback Cortez Allen).”
If Tomlin had tripped Jones, he would have been given a touchdown on the play.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh appeared somewhat forgiving. “I wonder if (Tomlin) was credited for a tackle on that,” Harbaugh joked. Quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't as amused. “We stopped ourselves with penalties, but Tomlin stopped one one time,” Flacco said. “I took some flack at the Super Bowl about joking about someone should come onto the field and tackle someone, and that's exactly what he did.”
Tomlin later laughed after watching the replay while the Ravens protested only mildly. “I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play.”
Said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, “This is a rivalry game, so you do what you have to do -- like Mike Tomlin. But it's not foul if they refs don't call it.”
Sanders the man
Emmanuel Sanders had the wind knocked out of him in the first quarter, but he found a second wind in the second quarter. Sanders became Roethlisberger primary target for much of the first three quarters. He had six receptions on 11 targets while the league's leading receiver, Antonio Brown, had five catches on 11 targets.
Smith picks up ailing receiver corps
Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith has tormented the Steelers the past three seasons. Smith got off to a hot start on the Ravens' first possession. He three passes for 65 yards – including a 7-yard scoring pass to give Baltimore a 7-0 lead with 9:18 left in the opening quarter.
The Ravens' needed to work Smith overtime, partly because receivers Jacoby Jones (ankle) Brandon Stokley (knee) were injured in the first half. Stokley did not return after limping off in the second quarter, but Jones hobbled back in.
No wildcat needed
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco voiced his displeasure of the Ravens use of the wildcat formation. Baltimore didn't run the wildcat once in the first half, but Flacco scrambled for nine yards on third and 8 to position the Ravens for a field goal. Running back Ray Rice fared only a little better than Flacco with 16 yards in the first half.
The last five meeting between the Steelers and Ravens have been decided by less than five points…Defensive tackle Al Woods got his first career start in place of the injured Steve McLendon.
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.
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