Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell slaughters Bills’ defense in record fashion

Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back, Le’Veon Bell, was fourteen years old when Willie Parker set the Steelers’ single game rushing record back in December of 2006 against the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Bell became the new owner of the same record.

Parker’s performance on that Thursday night was an impressive one. He rushed 32 times for 233 yards and one touchdown against the lowly Browns. It was something that Steelers’ legends Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris never accomplished. Parker was pulled in the third quarter due to the beating the Steelers were putting on Cleveland. Against Buffalo, Le’Veon Bell administered four quarters of punishment on the ground and through the air against the Bills’ defense.

Accumulating nearly 300 scrimmage yards against Buffalo, Bell carried the ball 38 times for 236 yards and caught four passes for 62 yards. The versatile running back averaged 6.2 yards per carry and 15.5 yards per reception. With Ben Roethlisberger having the zero touchdown, three interception day that he did, Bell’s extraordinary performance was essential to winning.

The last time Buffalo’s defense gave up such numbers was in 2002 against the Miami Dolphins. Running back Ricky Williams rushed for 228 yards in the early December snow in a 38-21 loss to the Bills. Bell’s performance marked the second time in his career he has rushed for over 200 yards. His first was 204 yard game against the Tennessee Titans in 2014.

Bell recorded his fourth straight game with over 100 rushing yards this season. Beginning with the Browns in week eleven, the running back has rushed for 146, 120, 118, and most currently, 236 yards. His second 200 yard performance ties him with Willie Parker for the most in Steelers’ history.

The running back’s stellar performance in the later stages of the season is a promising sign for the Steelers’ offense. Try as they might, defenses are having a difficult time attempting to stifle Bell. To say he is unstoppable isn’t reasonable, but he makes his opposition work to bring him down. How he performs will determine how potent the Steelers’ offense will be in weeks to come.

A very capable rusher in inclement weather, the Steelers final games are in Pennsylvania and Ohio. There is a very high chance that these games are played in heavy snow forecasts. Growing up in Ohio and playing college football in Michigan gave Bell plenty of experience in dealing with such conditions. When asked about his performance in Buffalo, Bell had this to say:

“It was something that never bothered me (being cold). It just never phased me. That’s what makes me get ready for the game, because i know there’s people who don’t want to play in the snow. Our O-Line is the same way. You got Pouncey, he loves playing when it’s cold.”

The Steelers’ final three games are all division matches, which will be vital in their hunt for the AFC North title. They currently sit atop the division, holding the 3rd seed playoff berth, and have multiple ways they could take the title. If Baltimore loses to New England on Monday night, and Pittsburgh defeats the Ravens on Christmas night, the will have a two game lead heading into week seventeen.

Bell’s performance sparks up the debate of how the Steelers will go about retaining the running back in the future. This year’s suspension, along with the fact that some consider him injury prone, hinted that his time in Pittsburgh could come to an end after 2016. His response has been one of an athlete that is determined to prove critics wrong, and that he is a long-term asset for this team.

The Steelers arguably have the best running back in the league at their disposal to make their playoff push. Along with Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and a defense that is improving every game, Pittsburgh has the necessary tools to make a strong run during the post season. How it will all unfold is yet to be determined, but it is a sure bet that Le’Veon Bell will play a large role in their success.

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