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Steelers Film Room: Pass protection setting up short throws key in Pittsburgh's game against Ravens

The Steelers lose a lot of production in the absence of Le'Veon Bell, but their offensive line showed against Baltimore it is capable of turning away their outstanding pass rush, and use their aggression against them.

Football Central

(video courtesy of Football Central)

This clip reveals a few things leading into Pittsburgh's Wild Card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.

One, they will miss Le'Veon Bell - not that his production can't be spread around to other players, but because few in the game can make moves like this. Two, if the Steelers can get protection, they can exploit the front edge and beyond of a weak Ravens' pass defense.

This play is ultimately a demonstration of Bell's quickness (he fakes Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley out of his jock on his break), but the way it's set up is the key. The protection does a great job keeping the rush in front of them, allowing a cushion on which Bell can make his move on Mosley.

Bell is a solid six yards away from Mosley by the time the Ravens linebacker can recover. Center Maurkice Pouncey turns the defender inside and moves with him, opening up the hole for Bell. At that point, the play is won. Bell has more than enough space to work.

Without Bell, it may be more difficult to execute plays like this, but with an offensive line capable of turning away even a great pass rush like the Ravens, most running backs can make plays. Bell caught 83 passes this season, a franchise record for running backs, and while no one's asking Josh Harris, Dri Archer or Ben Tate to play at that level, the Steelers' offensive line can help all of them achieve something more than what they can as individuals.