In just his second season in the league, Le’Veon Bell has already established himself as one of the premiere players at his position, and now he’s even doing so without even getting a breather. The Pittsburgh Steelers have taken to making Dri Archer inactive, and the only snaps given to Josh Harris have come in garbage time and after a long gain.
I describe Bell as a premiere player because he is much more than simply a running back. In fact, his dual threat abilities are quite rare. According to Dom Rinelli, Bell is only the fourth player in NFL history to gain at least 1250 rushing yards and 750 receiving yards in the same season.
Only one player has done it multiple times, and it is a player that I have alluded to in drawing comparisons to Bell a few times this season. That would be Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, who was a significantly better player than commentator.
In fact, Faulk accomplished that feat in four straight seasons, from 1998 to 2001, while being the featured player in one of the most explosive offenses in league history. Now, Bell is in just his second season, of course, but who knows, he may be the second player ever to accomplish that feat multiple times.
Faulk is also a rare animal in having become only the second player in NFL history to record 1000 rushing yards and 1000 receiving yards in the same season. Roger Craig was the first to do so in 1985.
Bell has an outside shot of becoming the third player to do so, but he would certainly have to be featured heavily in the receiving game over the course of the final two regular season games.
Currently, he has 765 receiving yards on the year, averaging about 55 receiving yards per game. Obviously, that pace would not get him to that goal. In fact, he would have to average 118 receiving yards over the next two games, and he has only gone over 100 yards receiving in a game once in his career.
Of course, it’s not much of a knock to fail to become just the third player in league history to accomplish a notable achievement such as that. The fact that it’s even in the realm of discussion with two games to play is in itself an accolade over his remarkable season.
As of this week, Bell is the only player in the league to rush for at least 1000 yards while also adding at least 500 receiving yards. He has, of course, bettered both of those numbers by more than 250 yards each.
There are a few players with an opportunity of accomplishing that, however, most notably Matt Forte, who already has over 700 receiving yards. He needs just 68 rushing yards for 1000 on the season. A few others could be named as well, but Bell’s figures to me stand out as the most impressive of the group.