Correct me if I’m wrong, but my research tells me that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell leads all skill position players through the first three games of the season with 461 total yards from scrimmage.
He and Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray are the only two running backs to eclipse 300 yards. Murray leads the NFL with 385 rushing yards, which is 70 yards more than Bell’s 315 rushing yards.
Bell, however, has added 146 yards through the air on 13 receptions, while Murray has 62 receiving yards, giving the latter 447 all-purpose yards.
What also separates the two is the fact that, while Murray has three rushing touchdowns to Bell’s one, the Cowboys lead back has already lost three fumbles, one in each game. Bell has one career fumble 355 touches.
Julio Jones leads the league in receiving yards with 365 yards in the first three games. Despite 13 career carries for 93 yards, however, he has yet to run once thus far in 2014.
None of the other leading skill position players in receiving yards have a statistically significant total of rushing yards, either.
The only non-running back in the top 50 in rushing yards is Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings with 95 rushing yards, but he is only 48th in receiving yards with 143. I believe only he, Bell, Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Giovani Bernard of the Cincinnati Bengals are in the top 50 in both rushing and receiving yards.
In fact, Bell is just one of three running backs among the top 50 players in receiving yards, trailing only Sproles and Bernard.
Sproles paces all backs with 196 receiving yards, ranking 24th in the league, but he only has 17 carries on the year for 117 yards. Bernard, meanwhile, ranks 45th in the league and second among backs with 148 receiving yards, but is only averaging 3.4 yards per carry for a total of 185 rushing yards.
Bell is just behind Bernard with 146 receiving yards, and that is after a down performance last night with just two receptions for 10 yards. Even still, he is averaging just under 49 receiving yards per game through three games.
That is on top of averaging over 100 yards rushing per game, going over 100 yards twice in the first three games after doing so only once in 13 games last year.
Bell finished the night with a career-high 147 rushing yards, including a career-long 81-yard run that showcased his newfound speed after dropping some weight from a year ago. He is among three backs with at least three rushes of 20 yards or more, and one of 11 backs with a run of 40 yards or more.
As if that were not enough, Bell leads all backs with at least 50 rushes in yards per attempt with a staggering 5.9 yards per carry. His average jumped more than half a yard on the back of his 21-carry, 147-yard night.
And by the way, the Steelers are now 7-0 when Bell rushes at least 20 times in his career, and are 3-0 when he eclipses 100 yards rushing. And he does so error-free.
I don’t think it would be out of the question to suggest that he ends this season in the Pro Bowl, if not on the All-Pro team, assuming LeGarrette Blount doesn’t absorb too many of his goal line touches.