Had Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell registered just 13 more yards of offense in the Sunday win over the Cleveland Browns he would have set a franchise record for total yards from scrimmage in a Week 1 game. Instead, his 197 total yards was only good for second all-time behind the 209 yards that former Steelers running back Willie Parker posted way back in 2005 against the Tennessee Titans.
While Bell didn’t catch Parker with his extraordinary game against the Browns, he still has a good chance at setting a franchise record for total yards from scrimmage after Week 2 as he only needs 127 yards Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens to pass the 323 total yards that Barry Foster had after two games back in 1992.
After the win on Sunday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Bell’s performance.
“He’s a guy for all situations,” Tomlin said. “I think we’ve been pretty clear about that. We’re not surprised by anything he does. He’s a quality young player and we expect that type of performance from him.”
While Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley also like what he saw Sunday out of Bell, he knows that was just one game and that Bell now needs to prove he can consistently put up those kind of numbers.
“Now he has to show that he can go out and do it on a week-in and week-out basis,” Haley said Tuesday during his session with the media. “There’s a target on his back because he has the skill set to do a lot of things for us and be a terrific weapon, both running, protecting and as a pass receiver. I think there is still more out there for him and more to get out of him just from a developmental stage.”
In case you’re curious, Foster currently holds the Steelers franchise record for total yards from scrimmage in a season with 2,034. While Bell will be hard pressed to beat that number, the 1,775 total yards that Jerome Bettis posted back in 1997 certainly seems to obtainable if the former second-round draft pick stays healthy.
As a rookie, Bell registered 1,259 yards from scrimmage in the 13 games that he played in, so he should easily top that number.