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Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both top 100 yards in win over Panthers

LeBackfield was on display Sunday, becoming the first pair of Steelers running backs to each top 100 yards in a game since 1986.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount was about seven weeks old when ex-Steelers running backs Earnest Jackson and Walter Abercrombie combined for a dual 100-yard performance. Le'Veon Bell was still five years away from being born.

It has been nearly 18 years since this last happened, but not only did Blount and Bell turn that feat in Pittsburgh's 37-18 win over the Carolina Panthers, they did it in style by cracking off big runs.

Bell has the longest run from scrimmage in 44 years of Steelers football, sprinting 81 yards before finally being pulled down inside the 10-yard line. Blount broke free for a 51-yard scamper, leading fans to remember not Abercrombie or Jackson, but Jerome Bettis - capable of getting big runs, but perhaps not quite fast enough to reach the end zone on them.

Not that it mattered, the Steelers converted opportunities into points like it was their life's soul mission, largely on the strength of the team's long-awaited running game. Talk during the last two years has been of the future of rushing in Pittsburgh, and Week 3 was a testament to that hope and that vision. Bell and Blount showed why optimism has been so high on both players this season.

Bell is second in the NFL in rushing yards with 315, averaging an eye-popping 5.9 yards per carry in the process. This isn't a fluke, either. The manner in which he's collecting these yards is best described by a new stat - Sprawls. It measures the amount of defensive players left sprawling in his wake as his Peterson-like cut speed is making would-be tacklers spectators to the danger of one of 2014's best players.

Blount did it with power, scoring a touchdown on, through and over Panthers safety Thomas DeCoud. His leap attempt over cornerback Antoine Cason wasn't entirely successful - unless you're pleased with the fact he wasn't flagged for kicking Cason in the head, something that gave Antonio Brown a fine in Week 1. Blount's kick wasn't quite as blatant, but it's clearly becoming a weapon of choice for the Steelers.