As we approach week six of the NFL season, it is clear to me that the most dynamic athlete and all-around best running back in the league is Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Bell missed the first three games of the season due to a suspension for not taking a league mandated drug test in a timely manner. On top of that, Bell’s 2015 season was cut short due to a knee injury requiring surgery. With all of those circumstances, one could expect Bell to show some regression on the football field, but, in his first two games this season, he has not.
Bell looked incredible in his season debut, week four against the New York Jets, as he had 18 rushes for 144 yards, which totals an insane average of eight yards per carry. Bell also contributed in the passing game with five receptions for 34 yards. When combining his receiving and rushing yards, he totaled 178 yards on the day. To put that into perspective: that is the most yards from scrimmage Bell has had since week 14 of 2014 NFL season. He managed to put up 235 total yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. Bell didn’t just return, he came back and reminded everyone who he is. Bell followed up his week four performance with another good outing, rushing the ball for 66 yards and catching nine passing for 88 yards. This was the second time in as many games he managed over 150 total yards from scrimmage. It is only the second time in his career he has accomplished that feat, the other coming during the 2014 season, which were consecutive games from week 12 through 14.
In the three games Bell was suspended this season, the Steelers averaged 21.67 points and average 354 yards of total offense per game. In comparison since Bell’s return, the Steelers have averaged 37 points and 434.5 yards of total offense per game. Now, obviously that is not solely because of Bell. It also has to do with the MVP-like play of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but Bell’s presence on the field means defenses have to game plan for him. This has helped Roethlisberger the past two weeks.
Bell has shined bright since his return, and I anticipate the same going forward from, in my opinion, the best back in the NFL.