In the game of football, at it’s core it’s about establishing dominance, setting a physical tone and imposing your will.
The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly did that in 2014 against the Cincinnati Bengals. On the road inside Paul Brown Stadium on December 7, 2014, Pittsburgh ran the same play over and over again — literally, the call was Georgia — and pounded the Bengals into submission, rolling to a 42-21 win.
Nearly a decade later, that day still resonates for former Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell as one of his most proud and favorite moments in his tenure with the Steelers.
Appearing on the Not Just Football podcast with Cameron Heyward Wednesday, Bell spoke glowingly recalling that physical beatdown of the AFC North foe Bengals.
“We played the Bengals, and we ran the same play…the Bengals were literally like, ‘they’re running right here!’ We were like ‘Yup, yup, running right there. Stop it.’ That might have been my favorite game. …That game right there, I went crazy,” Bell said to Heyward and co-host Hayden Walsh, according to a video via the NFL on ESPN YouTube page. “I just remember that game…they were sliding everybody over to try and stop it. We were in the huddle like ‘hey, they know our plays, but they can’t stop it.’ We were in the huddle talking shit.
“They knew we were running Counter or Georgia and they just couldn’t stop it. We just said keep running it. We’d have plays coming in and Ben [Roethlisberger] would just change it be and like ‘let’s just run Georgia.’ That let me know Ben was smart because he was the one that just kept that rolling.”
That day, the Steelers called on Bell 26 times to run the football. He responded with 185 yards and two touchdowns and added another six catches for 50 yards and a score, helping the Steelers roll to the 42-21 win.
As Steelers Depot’s own Dave Bryan noted after that 2014 game, the Steelers ran Bell to the left side (Georgia) 13 times against the Bengals and those runs equated to 143 yards and two touchdowns. In total, Pittsburgh called 17 runs to the left and generated 157 yards.
It helped to have the road grading David DeCastro up front. Against the Bengals in that 2014 matchup, DeCastro was a force. The former All-Pro guard pulled left 11 times in that win and those runs resulted in 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Along with Bell’s big day, Roethlisberger threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns while Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant both went over 100 yards receiving on the day. While Pittsburgh had no answer for Cincinnati’s A.J. Green through the air on the day (11 catches, 224 yards, one touchdown) it didn’t matter as the Bengals simply couldn’t stop Counter and Georgia from the Steelers’ run game.
It’s rare you see that type of stuff in the NFL, but in the Killer B era, the Steelers were a nightmare on the ground and through the air for nearly every defense they faced.