As impressive as it is to think about what Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has been able to accomplish not just over the course of his career, but even specifically during this season, the most impressive statistic to me has to be the fact that he has gained more yards per game played than anybody else in the league. His 146.4 yards per game is four yards more than Arizona’s David Johnson, and more than 10 yards more per game than the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott.
But what impresses me even more about that statistic is the fact that he has actually done so much of that work on the ground, as he actually is second in the league, behind only Elliott, in terms of rushing yards per game. Of course, it helps that he has rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games, the first time he has done that in his career.
While Elliot is far and away the frontrunner in terms of rushing yards per game—he is averaging 107.1 yards on the ground per game—Bell is a distant, yet still second, runner-up, averaging 90.8 yards per game. And that is actually about four yards on the ground more per game than the third-place runner, DeMarco Murray.
Elliot, Johnson, and Murray are the only three running backs currently to have topped 1000 yards on the ground, though there are a few who are close. Still, considering the fact that he has missed, to date, a full quarter of the games played this year, the fact that Bell is in the top 10 in terms of total rushing yards with 817 is quite impressive.
Among running backs with at least 100 carries, Bell’s 4.5 yards per carry is also comfortably within the top 10, and that is an impressive figure when you take into consideration the fact that the Steelers have gone up against some of the toughest run defenses in the league, particularly the Ravens, but Bell has faced four of the top five teams in terms of rushing yards allowed per game, and the three top teams in terms of yards allowed per carry.
Granted, it is also true that the Steelers have gone up against some of the lesser run defenses in the league this year, most notably the Browns and the Dolphins, who are in the bottom three in terms of rushing yards allowed.
And going up against the Bills should provide Bell and the Steelers with yet another opportunity to find success on the ground, which is clearly something that they have strived to achieve over the course of the past three weeks, during which they have rushed for 411 yards.
While the Bills may have the top rushing offense in the league, their run defense is not a fitting complement, as Buffalo has surrendered over 116 yards on the ground per game, seventh-most in the league, even if they have been middling—and actually slightly better than Pittsburgh—in terms of yards allowed per rush.