I think Le’Veon Bell likes this whole postseason thing. In each of his first two playoff games of his career, he broke the Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise record for rushing yards. The first one, 158 yards by Franco Harris in 1975, stood for 42 yards until Bell rushed for 167 last week against the Dolphins.
His own record stood for just that week when he broke it himself last night in Kansas City, rushing for 170 yards on 30 carries, 101 yards coming in the first half. He was the first Steelers player to rush for 100 yards in either half. He had 99 yards at halftime last week.
While he did quiet down some in the second half, he did lead things off in the third quarter with an explosive 38-yard run, which was his second-longest run of the season—the longest being the 43-yarder that essentially ended the game against the Chiefs in his first game after serving a three-game suspension back in Week Four.
The All-Pro running back now has 337 rushing yards through two postseason games, which is by far the most in NFL history in any player’s first two postseason games. Arian Foster established the record most recently for the Texans, gaining 285 yards in his first two appearances in the posteason. Bell bettered that by 52 yards.
Bell also became just the fourth player in NFL history to post back-to-back 150-yard rushing games in the postseason, joining Harris among those who have done so. Harris compiled 311 yards on 61 carries with two touchdowns for the Steelers over a two-season span, including the 1974-season Super Bowl and the first game of the 1975 playoffs.
Marcus Allen accomplished the feat over a one-postseason span in 1984 for the Raiders. In two games, including the Raiders’ 1983-season Super Bowl victory, he rushed for 345 games on just 45 carries with two touchdowns. That postseason, on 58 carries, he rushed for 466 yards with four touchdowns.
Terrell Davis is the only player to rush for at least 150 yards in three consecutive postseason games, but, like Harris, it also falls over a two-season span. During the 1997-season Super Bowl, he rushed for 157 yards on 30 carries. He then rushed for 199 and 167 yards in the Broncos first two postseason games the following year. His 366 rushing yards in the first two games of the 1998 playoffs are the most rushing yards after in a two-game span in the playoffs. That I can find, anyway.
For the franchise, Harris holds the all-time record for the most rushing yards in a single postseason, rushing for 343 yards with six touchdowns during the 1974 postseason to lead to the Steelers’ first Super Bowl trophy.
Bell needs just seven yards next week to surpass Harris’ franchise record, which is probably a pretty safe bet, and he will have done so in as many games. That would not be bad at all for your first appearance in the postseason. But Harris’s 1974 season ranks only ninth all-time for the most rushing yards in a single postseason. John Riggins, with 610, holds the record, though he is on pace to break it.
In case you were wondering, Davis holds the second and third spots on the list with 581 and 468. Allen’s 466 is fourth. Eddie George’s 449 yards at fifth represents the only 400-yard postseasons in NFL history for rushers.