Le'Veon Bell is doing some big things.
After setting the Steelers' rookie record for total yards from scrimmage last year, Bell is currently second in the NFL in rushing yards and total yards by a running back. The former Michigan State Spartan has teamed up with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown to form one of, if not the best, RB-QB-WR trios in the NFL.
Bell's 254 all-purpose yards (95 rushing, 159 receiving) in Pittsburgh's 35-32 loss to New Orleans Sunday gives him 1,689 total yards through 12 games. So far, Bell has amassed 1,046 yards on the ground and 643 receiving yards on 65 catches. Those numbers have Bell in position to join elite company, both in the Steelers' and the NFL's record books.
Bell is just 311 yards away from joining former Steeler running back Barry Foster as the only Steelers running backs to amass 2,000 total yards in a season. Foster tallied 2,034 yards during Bill Cowher's first season as Steelers coach, as Pittsburgh compiled an 11-5 record en route to the AFC Central Division championship in 1992. Foster's 1,690 yards during that season is still a Steelers' single-season rushing record.
Bell is currently 86 yards behind Jerome Bettis' 1997 campaign in which he totaled 1,775 yards that included 1,665 on the ground. Bettis finished third in the NFL in rushing that season behind Terrell Davis (1,750 yards) and Barry Sanders (2,053 yards). Bettis had the opportunity to eclipse Fosters' rushing record but decided to sit out Pittsburgh's regular season finale against Tennessee, as the Steelers had already clinched the No.2 spot in the AFC playoffs.
While Bell looks to continue etching his name into the Steelers record books, it's not hyperbole to say that Bell could join an elite company as one of only three backs in NFL history to rush and receive for over 1,000 yards in a single season. Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk are the only running backs in the NFL's 85-year history to accomplish that feat. Craig did so for the 49ers in 1985 (1,050 rushing, 1,016 receiving) and Faulk followed suit for the Rams Super Bowl winning team in 1999 (1,381 rushing and 1,048 receiving). To join Craig and Faulk in this prestigious group, Bell would have to average about 89 receiving yards per game during the Steelers final four regular-season games.
Regardless of whether or not Bell joins the 1,000/1,000 club, it's pretty remarkable that Bell's name is being placed in these conversations so early in his career. It's also safe to say that Bell would rather be racking up yards in playoff games than in regular-season ones, something he has yet to do. Hopefully for Steelers fans, Bell can continue to pile up the yards while helping lead Pittsburgh back into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.