Man, it feels so much better to be writing after games about Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell making history again. It seemed like something that I was doing on a weekly basis last year while those two were on a tear through the league. This year, while they have gotten off to the same 4-2 start, the offense has sagged, and drama has filled the void.
But not yesterday. It wasn’t properly reflected on the scoreboard, but the Pittsburgh Steelers for long stretches dominated the Kansas City Chiefs on their home turf, a team that many would argue is the best in the game right now—and one of two with fewer than two losses.
And Bell was the one doing most of the dominating, having his best game of the season. He rushed for 179 yards on 32 carries, the fourth time in his career he has rushed for at least 150 yards. But it was the thirteenth time in his career that he has put up at least 150 yards from scrimmage in a game.
Sound astounding? It should, because he just became the Steelers’ all-time franchise leader in games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage, breaking a tie with…Franco Harris. His ability to contribute in the passing game has truly set him apart.
— Dom Rinelli (@drinelli) October 16, 2017
Consider this fact. Harris played 165 games with the Steelers, and managed to put up at least 150 yards in a game 12 times. Bell just played his 53rd game, and has done so 13 times already. That means that 24.5 percent of all games he has played to date have seen him post 150 yards from scrimmage or more. That is exceptional.
It is the second time he has done it this season, after rushing for 144 yards and adding another 42 through the air against the Ravens two weeks ago—yet those are the only two games of the season, to date, in which he has even cracked 100 yards from scrimmage.
During the 2016 season, over 12 games, he did it five times, and came laughably close to a sixth, gaining 149 combined yards rushing and receiving in the week seven loss to the Patriots. He actually only hit the mark once in 2015, though he only played in six games.
Another five occurrences came in 2014, his breakout year, highlighted by a string of three consecutive games of at least 200 yards from scrimmage, including 204 yards on the ground in one game, 159 through the air in the next, and then 185 on the ground a week later.
Bell hasn’t quite been the weapon he is used to being in the receiving game this year, though. While he is averaging five receptions per game—on pace for 80—his 30 receptions have yielded just 156 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per reception.