The Steelers handed the ball off to Le’Veon Bell 15 times against the Jaguars but the running back managed just 3.1 yards per carry. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — These numbers seem unavoidable against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ five-turnover dismantling against the Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Steelers are 10-0 since 2013 when Le’Veon Bell gets 25 or more carries.

Bell’s 3.1 yards per carry Sunday was hardly a solution in the 30-9 loss to the Jaguars, but the Steelers handed the ball off to Bell 15 times against (at least on paper) the worst rushing defense in the NFL.

They shouldn’t make the same mistake this Sunday in Kansas City, the spot where Bell broke off 170 yards on 30 carries in last year’s playoffs.

Pound the ball with Bell. Throw to Antonio Brown fairly often. Figure out the supporting cast as you go.

In 2014, when Ben Roethlisberger was one of the league’s hottest quarterbacks, airing it out was a sound strategy. Those Steelers could throw on anybody. The seemed galaxies away from those heady days in the aftermath of Roethlisberger’s five-interception performance on 33-of-55 passing.

The deficit forced the Steelers to throw more, but it’s almost as if an offense waiting to experience a passing-game explosion like old times grabbed for glory Sunday, to spectacular failure.

Not that Roethlisberger’s play won’t improve. He could find his groove again. There’s too long a track record. But the Bell-heavy plan late last year rode the Steelers to seven straight wins, and in their biggest offensive productions — 26 points against the Minnesota Vikings and at the Baltimore Ravens — Bell got a combined 62 carries.

There’s a reason they ride Bell when they do. This isn’t the same offense as 2014, despite some of the same parts. The dynamics of the passing game have shifted unless they can rediscover them. The Steelers still have untapped playmaking in Martavis Bryant, who can’t seem to find a rhythm with Roethlisberger.

Read more…