The Bills offense is one of the better teams in the NFL, even with some uneven play they can sometimes display. Led by Josh Allen and the breakout of James Cook at running back, the group boasts a dynamic attack on the ground and through the air. But the elements could take away some of their options in the passing game against the Steelers.
On top of that, Cook has struggled to get much going since his explosion against the Dallas Cowboys. Over the last three games, Cook has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry while posting 154 yards on 49 carries. In general, the run game has not worked as well for the Bills in the last few weeks.
Before considering the slick conditions, Cook has the second most fumbles in the NFL this season. This game, even for as talented as Cook is on the ground, might be where he has to work within a committee more than being the lead back of that group.
The wrinkle that the Steelers could face? Practice squad running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette, known as Playoff Lenny, is a big-bodied back built for this type of game. He’s the physical hammer a team could use here to take some of the load off, Cook and Josh Allen. Mike Tomlin even went out of his way to mention Fournette in his press conference this week, which seemed pertinent for the matchup.
“At running back, they’ve got really good quality depth,” Tomlin said. “(James) Cook is a 1,000-yard rusher. (Leonard) Fournette has bought a little thunder to that lightning in recent weeks. We’ll have our hands full working to try to minimize the things that they do in the run game with their collection of backs and (James) Cook being foremost in that.”
Fournette has not had much success and even mainly worked in a tush-push role against the Dolphins. But Joe Brady has looked to try to fit Fournette into this offense. Against the Steelers, this is a matchup where Fournette makes a lot of sense to switch up the stylistic looks that the Bills are giving Pittsburgh.