Considering the day that he had, we sure have not really talked a whole lot about the performance of running back Le’Veon Bell for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday over the Ravens. Of course, it might be somewhat understandable that his story could fall a bit to the wayside when you take into the equation the competing storylines from just the offensive side of the ball.
I mean, we merely saw quarterback Ben Roethlisberger become the first player in NFL history to throw for 500 or more yards on three separate occasions. And in none of those games was overtime a factor. In none of those games did he throw an interception, nor fumble. In none of those games did he lose.
Then there is Antonio Brown, the best wide receiver in football. Yeah, I went out on a limb and said it. He just added another 10-100 game to his career resume. In fact, he added another 200-yard game to his total, the only wide receiver in team history with multiple 200-yard games. Not many in NFL history have more than one.
But it was Bell doing the scoring. He had three touchdowns on the day, tying for him a career-high, scoring twice on the ground and again through the air. He had at 35-yard receiving touchdown last week in his second 100-yard receiving game of his career, and he added a 20-yard touchdown through the air against the Ravens.
Though it took him one extra game, as he only played in 12 last year, Bell matched his total scoring output from the previous season. He now has seven rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns, the same in each column that he had a year ago.
Bell had just 22 touches in total during the game, however, which is a light workload for the All-Pro running back. He had 13 carries and nine receptions just a week after having only 23 touches, though more skewed toward rushes. He had 32 touches the week before.
Courtesy of the long gains in recent weeks, he has made headway in improving his efficiency numbers through the air. Last year he posted a very healthy 8.2 yards per reception, and he has gotten up to 7.7 yards per reception this year after spending most of the year two years or more below that mark.
Still, he remains under the four-yard mark in yards per carry. If that keeps up and he continues to lead the league in rushing yards, he will be the first running back to do so while averaging fewer than four yards per rush in…a really long time.
Though he averaged fewer than four yards per rush against the Ravens, several of those carries came in inopportune situations, backed up toward their own goal line. He also had a one-yard touchdown run, which can slant a stat line on just 13 carries.