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Le'Veon Bell begins the first week of the start of his career

The hoopla over his debut is over, Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell gets to work on becoming the feature back this team hasn't had due to a variety of reasons.

Jamie McDonald
His debut may have been in London, but the start of Le'Veon Bell's career begins this week.

The long-awaited Steelers running back had a pretty decent first game, logging 84 total yards on 20 touches. Whether the Steelers can rebound from a horrible 0-4 start will largely depend on Bell's ability to improve on those numbers - something his predacessors failed to do last season.

The Steelers' running game was in just as deplorable shape a year ago at this time as it is now. Oddly, it was Rashard Mendenhall's decent all-around game in his debut in Week 5 (102 yards on 16 touches) that compelled the Steelers to feel like their rushes woes were over.

They weren't.

Mendenhall went down early in their Week 6 game, a 26-23 loss at Tennessee on a Thursday Night Football game. Jonathan Dwyer had his breakout game the following week against Cincinnati. He repeated that against Washington in Week 8, but was injured at the end of it. Isaac Redman then ran for a season-high 147 yards in a Steelers' Week 9 win over the Giants - their third straight win.

That was the last time a Steelers running back went over 100 yards in a game, and, after a Week 10 win against Kansas City, the last winning streak the Steelers would have in 11 months.

Staying healthy and consistent at the same time has been a maddening pursuit for the Steelers over the last two seasons, as the team has rushed for 101 yards a game since 2011. They rushed for 120 yards a game in 2010.

Bell can help move that trend in a different direction, and it's not only up to him. A bye week to clear some heads, and in the Steelers' case, clear one head out (LT Mike Adams), with the addition of a running back who can find running room even in tight spaces, may do the trick.

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