Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has been at times called one of the most complete backs in the NFL. With his elite running skills combined with receiver-like hands and quickness, it is easy to see why. Now six games into his 2016 campaign, Bell has been having a storybook season for a number of reasons.
There are two sides to every story, one side may state that Bell is not having the rushing season he is accustomed to as his 4.3 yards per attempt and 72.2 rushing yards per game are his lowest since his rookie season. The other, more telling side of the story, tells of how valuable Bell has been as a receiver to a receiving core that has affected by injuries, inconsistency and suspension. Bell has been a ball magnet for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, as his 45 receptions lead all running backs. Considering that Bell has done this in just six games means the running back is on pace for a historic season as a pass catcher.
With seven games left, Bell is on pace for 97.5 receptions with 780 receiving yards. Those 97.5 receptions would place Bell at fifth all-time for most receptions in a season by a NFL running back. To put that in better perspective, if Bell’s 6 game totals were projected over a usual 16-game season, he would project to have 120 receptions and 960 receiving yards. Bell’s 120 projected receptions would not only make it the most in NFL history by a running back, but would also be 18 more than the single season record set by Matt Forte in 2014.
Just like there are two sides to Le’Veon Bell’s 2016, there are two sides to having a historic season. If having a historic season was decided by half a season, then many would hold that claim. The other half of having a historic season is being able to consistency produce throughout a full season. Will Bell be able to continue at his historic pace for the final seven games? You’d have good reason to believe so as he has quickly developed into the second most trusted receiving option of the Steelers offense this season.