Le’Veon Bell breaks out

Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers’ second-year running back, was having a nice little career for himself heading into the Titans game three weeks ago. Now, though, such adjectives as “nice” and “little” no longer seem to apply. Three straight games with 200-plus yards from scrimmage will do that for you.

It’s unusual enough, after all, for a back to have two games in a row like that. Only seven others have done it in the 2000s — and no back has had three in a row since Bears Hall of Famer Walter Payton in 1977. The details:

BACKS IN THE 2000S WITH 200 YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE IN CONSECUTIVE GAMES

Year Back, Team Opponents (Yards) Total
2014 Le’Veon Bell, Steelers Titans (222), Saints (254), Bengals (235) 711
2012 Doug Martin, Bucs Vikings (214), Raiders (272) 486
2007 Ronnie Brown, Dolphins Jets (211), Raiders (207) 418
2003 Deuce McAlister, Saints Falcons (237), Eagles (232) 469
2002 Ricky Williams, Dolphins Bills (235), Bears (216) 451
2002 Marshall Faulk, Rams Seahawks (235), Cardinals (235) 471
2000 Mike Anderson, Broncos Seahawks (209), Saints (256) 465
2000 Eddie George, Titans Bengals (214), Jaguars (209) 423

Now let’s compare Bell’s run to Payton’s. Le’Veon first:

VS. Rushing Receiving Total
Titans 33-204-1 2-18-0 35-222-1
Saints 21-95-1 8-159-0 29-254-1
Bengals 26-185-2 6-50-1 32-235-3
Totals 80-484-4 16-227-1 96-711-5

And now Walter:

VS. Rushing Receiving Total
Chiefs 33-192-3 1-29-0 34-221-3
Vikings 40-275-1 1-6-0 41-281-1
Lions 20-137-1 4-107-0 24-244-1
Totals 93-604-5 6-142-0 99-746-5

Awful close. Note that Payton set a single-game rushing record (since broken) when he went for 275 against the Vikes. But other than that . . . there isn’t much difference between them volume-

Le'Veon Bell cuts upfield.

Le’Veon Bell cuts upfield.

wise. Walter had three more touches and 35 more yards.

Note, too, that both had a 100-yard receiving game during their streak. If you’re going to pull off something like this, it helps to have some pass-catching ability.

Thanks in large measure to Payton, by the way, the Bears made the playoffs that season for the first time in 14 years (when they won their last title under George Halas). And Bell, of course, has the 8-5 Steelers pointed in the same direction. (He’s also on pace to finish with 2,368 yards from scrimmage, which would be the fifth-highest total of all time.)

At any rate, the word is out about him now — if it wasn’t before. This is one dangerous (and durable) back.

Source: pro-football-reference.com