Le’Veon Bell Breaks Franco Harris’ Franchise Record For 150-Yard Games

Man, it feels so much better to be writing after games about Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell making history again. It seemed like something that I was doing on a weekly basis last year while those two were on a tear through the league. This year, while they have gotten off to the same 4-2 start, the offense has sagged, and drama has filled the void.

But not yesterday. It wasn’t properly reflected on the scoreboard, but the Pittsburgh Steelers for long stretches dominated the Kansas City Chiefs on their home turf, a team that many would argue is the best in the game right now—and one of two with fewer than two losses.

And Bell was the one doing most of the dominating, having his best game of the season. He rushed for 179 yards on 32 carries, the fourth time in his career he has rushed for at least 150 yards. But it was the thirteenth time in his career that he has put up at least 150 yards from scrimmage in a game.

Sound astounding? It should, because he just became the Steelers’ all-time franchise leader in games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage, breaking a tie with…Franco Harris. His ability to contribute in the passing game has truly set him apart.

Consider this fact. Harris played 165 games with the Steelers, and managed to put up at least 150 yards in a game 12 times. Bell just played his 53rd game, and has done so 13 times already. That means that 24.5 percent of all games he has played to date have seen him post 150 yards from scrimmage or more. That is exceptional.

It is the second time he has done it this season, after rushing for 144 yards and adding another 42 through the air against the Ravens two weeks ago—yet those are the only two games of the season, to date, in which he has even cracked 100 yards from scrimmage.

During the 2016 season, over 12 games, he did it five times, and came laughably close to a sixth, gaining 149 combined yards rushing and receiving in the week seven loss to the Patriots. He actually only hit the mark once in 2015, though he only played in six games.

Another five occurrences came in 2014, his breakout year, highlighted by a string of three consecutive games of at least 200 yards from scrimmage, including 204 yards on the ground in one game, 159 through the air in the next, and then 185 on the ground a week later.

Bell hasn’t quite been the weapon he is used to being in the receiving game this year, though. While he is averaging five receptions per game—on pace for 80—his 30 receptions have yielded just 156 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per reception.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • melblount

    It’s an incredible accomplishment for LBell.

    That said, author is however grossly remiss in NOT noting

    (1) the HUGE differences between NFL team offensive outputs (especially passing yards, see 1976 Steelers stats for example) in their respective eras and
    (2) more importantly, that Franco SHARED backfield duties with Rocky, Frenchy and others his ENTIRE career (the most notable being Rocky’s 220 attempt, 1,036 yard rushing season in 1976), while LBell rarely surrenders touches to other backs.

    But then, many writers could not care less about these kinds of significant details.

  • Jones

    Those definitely change the context of the numbers, but this article was about the numbers that will go in the record books, not the asterisks next to them. To say that the author is “grossly remiss” and “could not care less” is a stretch at best and creates drama where there need be none. Relax.

  • melblount

    Do you ever read anything other than this site?

    Do you even know who say Tom Verducci, Peter King, Jim O’Brien or Ed Bouchette are?

    If so, do you think ANY of them would pen an article on this topic WITHOUT referencing my (and likely other) significant points to put LBell’s accomplishment into PROPER perspective?

    Are you over 25 years old?

  • Sam Clonch

    I’m most shocked that he’s only rushed for over 150 four times. Feels like 30 to me.

  • Jones

    Yes on all counts. Now then, did you have a point pursuant to this discussion and the article at hand, or do you just intend to name drop & play “guess my age”?

  • Dave Walden

    For whatever reason some fans take giving props to current stars as a slight to former legends. I see it in every sport. This article was about sharing L. Bell’s accomplishments. It was never to suggest that he is better or more impressive than Franco. It’s always “yeah that’s good but…so and so did this” I just never understand why we can’t give both guys there necessary praise.. Just because we are building up Bell doesn’t mean we are slighting Franco in any way.

  • Jones

    Well put!

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is a pretty significant overreaction, as indicated by your final paragraph that implies that I’m criticizing Franco Harris, but I’d like to point out that Harris still averaged 17.5 rushing attempts per game, while Bell is only averaging 19.7 attempts per game. It’s not exactly as though their opportunities have been worlds apart.

    In Harris’ first 53 games, he rushed for 4073 yards on 864 attempts, averaging 4.71 yards per attempt, with 29 rushing touchdowns. Bell has rushed for 4595 yards on 1042 rushes, averaging 4.41 yards per attempt, with 30 rushing touchdowns. Does that satisfy you?

  • TsarPepe

    Give this man his $15mil!

  • dany

    I love Bell and wanna see him get paid but I still wouldn’t put the team on a stranglehold with 15 millions per. And that number is probably (hopefully?) only gonna go up if he continues balling