Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell, who was held to 93 yards rushing in October 2013 to begin the Ravens' streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, ended the league-leading streak at 29 games Thursday with 129 yards.
The streak came to an end as the Ravens broke their early-season hoodoo with an overtime, 23-20 win at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field over the AFC North rival Steelers.
“Chris Canty said this on the sidelines — the way our season’s been going, it’s definitely bittersweet for that to go away, but we got the W and that’s what matters most,” nose tackle Brandon Williams said.
“We definitely have to look at film, get better at that, but we got a W and that’s what really matters, to come out on top with a win, especially the season that we have started. It’s definitely worth it.”
Bell paced a Steelers attack that accumulated 167 yards on the ground in a tense overtime affair, needing the extra period to break the streak and provide the Ravens defense some solace.
“It took him overtime to get that 100, right?” outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw said. “But honestly, man, Le’Veon Bell, he’s a different kind of guy. You prepare differently. You’ve got to do different things. You really can’t jump gaps and stuff like that. I’d think this gap is big, I should get in there, and he’d jump outside in the first one. It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to be sound, hit your gaps and just try to get him down.”
Bell snapped a streak that has come to define the Ravens defenses throughout the team’s existence.
A streak that spanned 46 games from 1998 to 2001 was the longest in franchise history. That was challenged by a run of 39 straight from 2006 to 2009. The latest streak began the week after Green Bay Packer Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards on Oct. 13, 2013.
Since then, the list of running backs held in check by the Ravens has been long, if not terribly impressive. Bell had 59 carries on 11 yards when the Steelers visited M&T Bank Stadium last year in Week 2, and just 20 yards on 10 attempts in the rematch during Week 9 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Houston Texans star running back Arian Foster came perilously close to breaking the streak last year, but was stuffed for a 1-yard gain late in the fourth quarter to give him 96 yards on his 25th carry in Week 16; he didn’t touch the ball again.
Bell nearly suffered the same fate — he was stuck on 96 yards at the end of regulation — but exploded on a patient, 22-yard trot through the right side of the Ravens defense to put him over 100 on the first play of the extra session.