Things haven't exactly gone as planned for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. They have a losing record, there have been several controversies involving the team, and the defense, of all things, has played pretty poorly at times.
But one bright spot this season—maybe the biggest bright spot this season—has been the play of rookie running back Le'Veon Bell.
Bell might not be the most aesthetically pleasing running back to watch on a weekly basis, but he's been pretty steady for Pittsburgh this season. Heading into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, he had rushed for 528 yards and five touchdowns, and also snagged 33 receptions for another 319 yards.
Bell is by no means a big-play threat, but he is a tough, physical runner capable of wearing teams down. And he has certainly solidified the running back position that was an absolute mess in the first three weeks while he was sidelined due to injury.
Not much else has gone right for the Steelers this year (though, somehow, they are still in the playoff picture).
Mike Tomlin was just fined a cool $100,000 for nearly wandering into the path of Jacoby Jones on a punt return. There were rumors that Ben Roethlisberger would try to force a trade in the offseason earlier this year, though they were nixed. The team lost four games to start the season. The defense has not been as good as we've become accustomed to seeing in Pittsburgh.
But at least in Bell, the Steelers have been able to re-establish a running game and give the offense some balance rather than hope Big Ben can produce the majority of the offense with his arm alone. The team still came into Sunday's action 31st in run offense, but Bell has been a major improvement over Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones and Isaac Redman.
It would appear that the running back position is covered for the the foreseeable future. Bell might not be the flashiest player around, but his effort and strength have stood out in a season when Steelers fans might have otherwise wanted to look away.
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