For the second straight year Le'Veon Bell has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for the final month of the season.
And for the second straight year he did it while playing in only four of the five games during the month.
Bell was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December, after a stretch where he had 69 carries for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Bell rushed for 117 yards against the Patriots, his 18th 100-yard game of his career, ranking fifth in Steelers history, and his fourth of the season.
He added 24 receptions for 259 yards and two touchdowns during December, and passed Franco Harris for most receptions by a Steelers running back. Against Cincinnati he had five receptions for 106 yards and a 35-yard touchdown catch. Bell led the AFC averaging 142.3 yards from scrimmage per game and led the conference with six touchdowns from scrimmage. He finished third in the AFC with 569 yards from scrimmage.
Bell set an NFL record for the fewest regular season games to reach 5,000 rushing yards and 2,500 receiving yards, doing so in his 59th career game, which was the Dec. 4 matchup against Cincinnati. The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, who did it in 63 games. He reached the 7,500 yards from scrimmage mark in the same game, tying Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson for reaching the milestone in just 59 games.
December has traditionally been a strong month for Bell, who has totaled 2,255 yards from scrimmage in the month of December since entering the NFL in 2013, the second-most in the NFL during that stretch. He has also rushed for 1,526 yards in the month of December since 2013, the third-most in the NFL during that stretch. Impressive numbers on their own, but even more so when you consider he didn't play a snap in December, 2015, after being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Bell will head into the Steelers AFC Divisional Round Game well-rested and healthy after he didn't play against the Browns last week.
"The good thing about me, I haven't been tackled," said Bell. "I'm not sore. I'm not trying to get through practice. I literally feel good, like I'm just starting to reset the season. So now in the postseason, that's where I want to be.
"Last year, I remember I was nowhere near feeling like I am right now."
Bell, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career, finished the season as the NFL's third leader rusher with 1,291 yards on 321 carries and nine touchdowns. Bell added 85 receptions for 655 yards and two receiving touchdowns to his totals, finishing second in the NFL, and first in the AFC, in yards from scrimmage with 1,946 yards.
Bell eclipsed the 1,200-yard rushing mark for the third time in his career, and for the second consecutive year. He is the third Steelers running back to record 1,200 rushing yards in consecutive seasons, joining Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis with that distinction. He surpassed 1,800 yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive season, the first player in team history to do so in consecutive seasons.
Bell was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week earlier this year for his performance in a Week 6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.