I’m sure we’ll break this down a little more in-depth throughout the week, Matthew Marczi always does a great job of that, but on the surface, can I just point out how freaking good Le’Veon Bell is playing right now? Is that ok? Good, I’m doing it.
Bell has made his impact felt since virtually the first time he ever stepped on a football field but I don’t know if he’s having a better stretch of games then he is right now.
Statistically, he isn’t. I looked it up earlier and was legitimately surprised to find that this is the first time in Bell’s NFL career he’s had back-to-back games of 120+ rushing yards. Seriously, look for yourself, thanks to the fine people at Pro Football Reference.
Bell is the first Steeler to do it since Willie Parker in 2007, nine years ago, which seems like an absurdly long time. His runs haven’t been game-breaking, none longer than 12 yards, but that might make this output all the more impressive.
He, and of course, the offensive line, have been consistent and opened up lanes. The run defenses they’ve faced range from mediocre to bad but they’ve been dominated, as teams like the Steelers should. Expectation achieved. That big 50 yard burst hasn’t happened but there have been virtually zero negative runs. It’s putting the offense in, at the worst, third and manageable, and is a driving force why they’re 52% on third down the last two weeks.
As Ben Roethlisberger called it, the offense has been “efficient.” The Steelers are getting great gas mileage with the ferocity of a Ferrari.
This doesn’t even mention Bell’s impact as a receiver. Last night was a bad one by his standards, only four catches, but he’s been such an asset there and been the de facto #2 receiver since his return. He is the most complete back in the game and still above the fray of rising stars like David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott.
The New York Giants will prove to be a much tougher task than these two teams, they’re entering Sunday with the fifth best run defense, but at the level Bell is operating at, it’s impossible to think he’ll be slowed down.