Another Week-4 victory by the Steelers, another 144-yard rushing performance by Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
So, why does it matter that Bell rushed for 144 yards in Pittsburgh's rather impressive 26-9 road win over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday?
Maybe it was because he rushed for exactly that many yards one season ago, when he posted those numbers against the Chiefs last October 2, in a 43-14 whipping of the Chiefs at Heinz Field—a victory that, like Sunday’s, improved Pittsburgh's record to 3-1 to start the year.
The only difference last year was that Bell was coming off a 3-game suspension due to missing several drug tests during the off-season.
This year, Bell seemed to be shaking off the rust and working his way back up to his full potential, after missing all of training camp in a contract dispute with the team.
Nevertheless, Bell seemingly broke out against the Ravens on Sunday and even added another 42 receiving yards to boost his Week-4 totals to 186—or eight more yards from scrimmage than he had in his 2016 debut.
So, what does this mean moving forward?
Is Bell the component the Steelers run their offense through, or is he just another part of the attack?
I'd say it's the former, and if that's the case, opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to deal with Bell.
Say what you want about Bell, but there's no doubt the Steelers offense is at its best when he's in the lineup. Bell is the main cog in the machine, a weapon so damaging, he could make opposing defensive coordinators forget about star receiver Antonio Brown.
Case in point: Brown was virtually a non-factor on Sunday, yet the Steelers’ offense, while certainly leaving a touchdown or two on the field, looked as good as it has so far this season.
Furthermore, Bell and his offensive line appeared to be in sync for the first time in 2017, which is important. For as good as Bell is, let's face it, his unique style and patience while choosing a hole isn't exactly an easy fit for any offensive line—even one as talented as Pittsburgh's unit.
Bell can run, he can catch and he can even block out of the backfield on a blitz. He’s a complete player, and the Steelers’ offense just looks better when it runs through Bell, and he's running on all cylinders.
Will that lead to Super Bowl success for the franchise this year? This remains to be seen, but the Pittsburgh Steelers got their most important offensive component back on Sunday.