Le’Veon Bell’s Heart Was On Display In Baltimore

By Matthew Marczi

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Le’Veon Bell has now had arguably his two best games thus far against the team’s biggest rival, the Baltimore Ravens. This past game was even bigger than the first, as he combined for 136 yards on the ground and in the air.

His 4.6 yards per carry was just the third time this season rushing for over four YPC in a game, with his best coming in the first Ravens game. This time, he benefited from a big 43-yard run, the longest of his career and just his second run of 20 or more yards, first of 40+.

He also had a career-high seven receptions for 63 yards, which included a key 29-yard reception following a personal foul penalty on Mike Adams that threatened to derail the Steelers’ momentum, so let’s take a closer look on the rookie’s impact in the latest installment of this great rivalry.

The Steelers only ran out of the Wildcat once in this game, but that one play was effective thanks to the rookie’s infinitely patient demeanor. On second and five, he was able to gain six yards and a first down even though he was rejected out of his gap. After he bounced out of that hole, he snuck around between left tackle and the pulling guard for the first down.

Later in the third quarter, on the team’s first scoring drive, Bell ripped the game open on third and two as he burst through the hole provided by David DeCastro and the double-team of Fernando Velasco and Ramon Foster. That running lane got Bell the first-down yardage, but the block by Antonio Brown on Jimmy Smith won him the edge as he raced down the sideline for 43-yards.

Perhaps his strongest area of growth outside of pass protection since his first game has been his reliability as a short-yardage back. Here on second and short at a critical time, Bell showed that nose for the first-down marker as Heath Miller’s block on Pernell McPhee gave way, nearly stopping him short.

The key short-yardage play that everybody is talking about, though, is of course his touchdown run. Not the one that actually counted on the scoreboard and the stat sheet, but the one that counted to his teammates—the one that was taken away.

Much has already been written about this play, by myself and others. The sheer heart and will displayed on this one-yard carry will probably mean more than anything else that happens for the rest of this season, short of a miraculous Super Bowl run.

His instinct to take it to the outside, the decision to cut it in, the sacrificing of his body, the resilience to hold on to the ball as he crashed into the end zone: these are the traits of a true teammate. Not just a playmaker, but somebody that understands that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that that whole is worth sacrificing a part of yourself for. His teammates all saw this, and they won’t forget it.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • michael young

    The kid has a maturity about him beyond his years. He really plays the game with a strong understanding of when to be patient and when to push it. I really appreciate his ability to make positive yards out of plays that most running backs would get dropped for a loss. Our line has been injury plagued (as usual) all season and he just keeps grinding out the tough yards to ease the pressure on Ben and the passing game but not putting them in 3rd and long. I know everyone wants to see 100 yd game after 100 yd game (which would be great) but there is no doubt in my mind that this kid has come in and solidified our running game and he gives us a better chance to win. I really hope that our line (when it gets healthy) can get it together and give this kid some holes so he can show what he can do in space. He has a sneaky burst to him and even at his size he has a way of getting small when he needs to punch it through a crease.

  • Nolrog

    Were there any fines from the NFL on the two players that creamed Bell in the head?

  • steeltown

    That boy can move for his size, and he’s only 21yrs old! Great draft pick

  • steeltown

    Funny I havent heard one word about them this week

  • blackandgoldBullion

    From the time I saw all those highlights of his college games, that he move well laterally for a big guy, and has surprising quickness. The big bonus at the pro level is that he has good hands. I was shocked Pittsburgh picked him because I thought they would draft other needs early, but I was also ecstatic.

  • srdan

    I’m pretty sure those are legal hits on a ball carrier. as a matter of fact they tried to institute a rule where the RB couldnt lead with his head. But they didint enforce it this year. That wouldn’t have applied to this play.

  • cencalsteeler

    He is a nice shot in the arm that the Steelers offense desperately needed. If this kid can remain healthy throughout his career, I will go out on a limb and predict his number will one day hang off of the rafters of Heinz field. I have to give props to Colbert and staff on this draft class, again. All captains from their respected colleges and I love their demeanor and the effort they put forth, both on and off the field.

  • cencalsteeler

    Not sure, but doesn’t it need occur outside the tackle box for it to be a penalty?

  • Virdin Barzey

    Just imagine what this kid would be if we had a real o-line. Hey, they’ve looked better but I leaning towards Bell has made them look better. Love the way the kid plays. Hope he ends up hating Baltimore as much as we do.

  • steeltown

    I think so

  • 20Stoney

    Decastro is really becoming the man.

  • Jeff

    That move in the 2nd GIF….. WOW!!

  • Virdin Barzey

    Yup. Hence no penalty, no fine. If it was us, all bet are off.

  • RMSteeler

    Great block by Beachum on Suggs in the first GIF! Suggs seemed to have a nose for that play and it may not have happened without Beachum’s effort.

  • Madi

    That was way outside the tackle box.