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Benny Snell’s breakout game shows he has bright future with Steelers

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It wasn’t an insane outing, but it was his best yet.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Benny Snell Jr. didn’t start for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team went on a West Coast road trip to Los Angeles, but that didn’t stop him from getting ten-plus touches.

The former Wildcats ended the matchup with a game-high 17 carries, helping the Steelers secure a 24-17 victory.

Surprisingly enough, Snell’s 75 yards on the ground was more than every other running back in the game combined. Sadly, Snell did everything but find the end zone, something fellow teammate James Conner did twice.

Snell was a crucial part in the Steelers successful run game. He topped out at 75 yards and secured a game-high 4.4 yards per carry average.

“He’s going to be a good kid,” said Steelers guard Raman Foster said of Snell via DK Pittsburgh Sports. “He’s a kid that played big ball in the SEC, and he loves it. And James supports him all the way. This has been a beautiful journey right here. I mean, the 1-2 punch — 1-2-3 now when Jaylen gets back — it’s pretty cool.”

The fourth-round pick in last year’s NFL Draft, Snell Jr. hadn’t played in over 10% of the Steelers offensive snaps until this past Sunday. With Jaylen Samuels out, Snell was called upon to be the change-of-pace back behind James Conner, who is happy playing the mentor role for Snell.

“Benny, he’s hungry to learn and he’s passionate about the game,” Conner said of their relationship. “He’s willing and able to learn. I’ve been a rookie before, so I just try to help any way I can.”

It was a place he found immense success at. And, better yet, it may stay that way with Samuels not expected back for almost a month. This will be Snell’s time to really make an impression on the field, and he made the most of it Sunday.

“It was real exciting. It was really fun,” Snell said. “I was [there] every step of the way to back up [James Conner] whenever he needed it. He did a good job of preparing me this week.”

The Steelers, who are on their third-string quarterback, will be heavily relying on the run game. For the near and distant future, that run game may be impacted by the former Wildcat running back.

Snell doubled his 2019 yardage in just one game. That’s the type of breakout that’ll keep Mike Tomlin’s staff coming back to the gritty, 5-foot-10 back.

Speaking of, it was Snell’s impact on special teams that made it easier for the Steelers to give the rookie a chance to show what he’s made of on offense.

“I mean this guy’s making tackles on coverage units and stuff. It’s been really impressive,” Tomlin said leading up to Pittsburgh’s matchup with Los Angeles.

How well Snell plays will go a long way in determining how competitive the Steelers remain in the second half of the season.