Victory Over Packers Marks A Game Of Firsts For Le’Veon Bell

By Matthew Marczi

There’s no question that today’s win over the Green Bay Packers was a big one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thanks to a lot of extra help, the victory assured that their final regular season game will still mean something. That wasn’t the case last season, when they were also 7-8.

But this was also a big game for Pittsburgh’s rookie running back, Le’Veon Bell, who had a pair a of firsts in his young career against the Packers, both of them equally surprising this late into a season.

Yes, tonight, Bell had both his first career 100-yard rushing game as well as his first career fumble. On a season-high 26 carries, he rushed for nearly 4.8 yards per carry en route to a 124-yard day on the ground.

Though he only had one reception for five yards, his 27 total touches is also a career-high, while his 129 total yards is his third-best yards-from-scrimmage mark of the season, giving him a total of 1173 yards through 12 games played.

Bell now has 770 rushing yards on the year, so unless he goes off for 230 yards or more, he will not finish off his rookie season as a 1000-yard rusher in 13 games. But unlike Eddie Lacy, Bell was never drafted to be a pure runner. His 44 receptions and nearly 400 yards through the air attests to that.

Despite his first-career 100-yard rushing game, Bell is still averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on his 224 rushing attempts. That of course has a great deal to do with the quality of run blocking put forth by a depleted and reshuffled offensive line, but it also explains why it took so long for that first 100-yard game to arrive.

It was the first such game by a Steelers back since Isaac Redman rushed for 147 yards against the New York Giants in the eighth game of the 2012 season, or 23 games ago, ending a 22-game drought.

What was even more surprising than the 100-yard rushing game, and how long it took to come, however, was Bell’s fumble. It was his first in over 250 touches as a professional football player, and now gives him one fumble in 268 total touches as a rookie.

The Steelers did everything they could to negate the damage when he fumbled near his own goal line. First, they forced a field goal attempt. Then they blocked it. But the officials missed the Steelers gaining possession, and long story short…the Packers scored a touchdown a play later.

But Bell was motivated coming off the fumble. On the first play of their next possession, he burst through the middle of the field, leaping over a defender for 25 yards, which put him over the century mark. After a fumble by Matt Flynn, he helped finish off the game with the go-ahead touchdown, his seventh of the season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Lamarr56

    Le’Veon showed why we picked him over Lacy. He might not have the yard rushing Lacy does, but he also is dealing with a worse offensive line. Bell also is a great receiver, which you can’t say about Lacy. Le’Veon is going to be great, and he is the best running back of the 2013 draft class.

  • 2443scott

    i missed the game but sure sounds like bell did a great job ..i hope i can get a chance to see replay of game

  • WilliamSekinger

    So happy for the kid. He is going to be good for many years. I’ll take 800 yards rushing and 400 – 600 yards receiving per season any day over a pure rusher. I believe this kid can post those type of numbers consistently.

  • Jeff

    Couldn’t have said it better.

  • cp72

    He is going to have those types of numbers in 13 games. The kid is just scratching the surface. If we add a big receiver to this offense look out.

    By the way let’s give a shout out to the o-line. They were probably the biggest reason we started 0-4 and now dare I say the are a strength of this team.

  • mlc43

    A full season and a slightly improved Oline would make him an easy 1200 yd rusher and 400 yd (or more) receiver. So as to not sing his praises too much, I would like it if he would stop stuttering behind the LOS and hit the hole a little faster.

    I agree with the having a big receiver would be nice, but I think that’s the least of the priorities we have going into next year. We need to do something to fix the D and the draft will not do it alone. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing a big receiving TE as opposed to a big WR. Heath is getting older and a pass catching TE would help out in both departments. Someone like a Jase Amaro.

  • James Kling

    He’s only going to get better. If we can make it through a season with a stable and solid OL, he’s going to put up sick numbers. I love his effort on every snap, and his patience, vision, and decision-making is the best of any back we’ve had in a long time.

  • Don

    Great job by the offensive line too.