Hit on Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell broke part of his helmet

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is averaging over 92 total yards a game, and had arguably his best performance in the Steelers' Week 13 loss to Baltimore. A concussion ended his night a few inches from his second touchdown after a hit came with such force, part of his helmet was broken.

The officials weren't likely going to throw a flag anywhere near the line of scrimmage on the play.

Such actions are considered taboo in fierce rivalry games; just let the guys play, as the saying goes.

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith and linebacker Courtney Upshaw both struck Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in the head on the play - one that appeared would result in a touchdown, regardless of how the defenders approached Bell. All three were outside the tackle box, all three lowered their heads.

Some variation of a new or an old rule could have triggered a penalty on either side, but plain and simple, it was a pretty clear-cut case of spearing. Whether the officials would call that the next time they see it could be a matter of which teams are on the field and at what point of the game the alleged infraction occurs.

What we know, as told to us by Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly, is the plastic bracket fashioned to keep the facemask of the helmet worn by Bell was broken with the hit.

A Steelers equipment man said Friday while repairing it in the locker room that he never saw that happen before.

That's quite the shot.

The end zone camera rigged in place to catch an end zone celebration instead saw a motionless Bell, and a barely-moving Smtih on the ground. Steelers tight end Heath Miller shoved the camera out of the way, not wanting his teammate to be recorded in such a prone position. It was a jolting sense of civility amid an act of savagery.

After the game, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (likely among others) Tweeted his support to Bell.

As Kaboly pointed out, Bell is one of 11 players in the NFL averaging more than 90 yards of total offense per game (92.4). If not for an early season injury, causing him to miss the first three games of the regular season, perhaps he'd be better off now.

At the same time, perhaps the late start will keep him fresher down the stretch. Bell was at the Steelers' facility Friday, as the team gathered before taking a four-day mini-vacation before returning Wednesday to prepare for the Miami Dolphins in Week 14. If Bell is able to play, he'll be out there again.

Likely with a new clasp on his helmet.

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