By Nick Shook
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There’s a reason they call it home-field advantage.
A week after visiting squads went 10-4, road squads dropped off a bit, going 7-5 in the first 12 games of Week 6. It’s not the best, but is still better than most weeks, and has given us some more standouts to choose from.
Are the Eagles for real? Is disaster looming for Pittsburgh? Will the football gods finally smile upon the Chargers? (Spoiler: They did.)
Here are your greatest players on the road from Week 6.
Greatest on the Road
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week, it was Pittsburgh’s opponent in this space. This week, the Steelers are sending their star running back to the podium as they pack up and head home after knocking off the NFL’s last undefeated team. They couldn’t have done it without Bell.
Bell paced the Steelers‘ offense, rushing 32 times for 179 yards and one touchdown and giving Ben Roethlisberger the much-needed offensive balance to afford him space to work in the passing game. Using his trademark patience, quick cuts and burst, Bell knifed through the Chiefs defense to help the Steelers offense move and also maintain control of the ball. Thanks in part to Bell, Pittsburgh won the time of possession battle 36:39-23:21.
As a result, Pittsburgh won a low-scoring, grind-it-out contest in one of the toughest environments in the NFL. The Steelers also got plenty of criticism off their backs in the process. All is well in the Steel City.
Also considered …
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
It’s still young, and he still makes youthful mistakes (like short-arming throws to open receivers), but as the Eagles prove with each week that they’re a legitimate contender, so does Carson Wentz prove his status as a rising young star under center.
Wentz’s completion percentage wasn’t the greatest — he completed 16 of 30 passes — but his yardage (222), his touchdown passes (3) and his overall command of Philadelphia’s offense was massively important to the Eagles‘ emphatic win over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Wentz connected with eight different targets, including four times each with new toy Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, and twice found tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone. Wentz also did a little dirty work with his own legs, gaining 25 yards on six carries, including one that involved his running over a Carolina defender.
Doug Pederson’s squad will go as Wentz goes. Right now, it’s going pretty well.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley has been in here almost every week of the season. Don’t like it? Maybe your team should stop him.
The Rams running back had another Gurley type of afternoon, rushing 23 times for 116 yards (5.0 yards per carry average). He didn’t score a touchdown, but that doesn’t keep him out of here. Why? Because the Rams leaned on Gurley late to finish off a win over Jacksonville, which was ever-so-close to tying things up but couldn’t get the ball back.
The Rams took the wise man’s approach to their game against the Jaguars: Grab an early lead and sit on it, relying on your ground game and defense to both burn clock and contain the opposition’s attack. Los Angeles knew Jacksonville couldn’t effectively jump back into the game on the arm of Blake Bortles, so they instead rode their horse (Gurley) into the sunset to improve to 4-2.