Sure James Conner looked pretty solid Sunday against the Cleveland Browns putting up nearly 200 total yards and two touchdowns in a game that eventually ended in a 21-21 tie.
My point is, one can only question if Le’Veon Bell’s presence on the field would have been enough to give the Steelers the win.
And this recent stat will answer that question quickly.
Since Bell entered the league back in 2013, Pittsburgh boasts a 42-19 record with him on the field (.689 winning percentage). It’s just 11-8-1 with him sidelined—a far lower.550 winning percentage.
And while the rushing totals and points per game with or without “El Bell”are nearly the same here, it’s what Bell doesn’t do when he is on the field that makes the difference.
Turns out the Steelers running backs are three times more when they are not wearing Number 26—as evidenced by the three fumbles they lost in Sunday’s surprising tie against the Browns.
And one of those fumbles was—you guessed it—by Conner and it was huge.
Connor’s fumble in the fourth quarter at the Steelers own 18, with the Steelers up 21-7—gave the ball to the Browns one yard from the goal line.
One play later, thoughts and prayers plunged over the top to pull the Browns to 21-14—and give the Browns the momentum they would need to tie the game.
Yeah, seems like Connor put up plenty of gaudy numbers but couldn’t help them get a very small one.
Pittsburgh’s first win.