On a cold, snowy day in Buffalo the Steelers needed their ground game to come through, and Le'Veon Bell did just that. And his performance earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his record-setting day.
"Awesome, awesome, awesome," said Ben Roethlisberger of Bell's performance.
Bell rushed for a Steelers' single-game record 236 yards on a career-high 38 carries in the 27-20 win over the Bills. Bell also had the hat trick, scoring three touchdowns for the first time in his career. Bell added four receptions for 62 yards, for a total of 298 yards from scrimmage.
"The offensive line did a great job opening up the holes," said Bell. "It was a total team effort"
Bell, who rushed for more yards than any back ever did against the Bills, went over 1,000 yards (1,053) for the season for the second time in his career. He also tied Willie Parker for the record for most 200-yard rushing games in a career with two.
"Heaven," said Stephon Tuitt. "I love food, so (watching him run) was like having a buffet of food."
Bell single-handedly outgained the Bills, with 298 yards from scrimmage compared to the Bills 275 yards of total offense.
"I just think my work ethic really shows," said Bell. "I don't there's a lot of backs who can do the things that I can do. Like I said, I take pride in staying in the game because at any moment the game can change and I want to be part of that play. Whether I'm getting it, whether I'm not getting it. Whether it's a block, a pickup, a catch, a run, whatever it is, I want to make sure I'm always part of the big play or change of the gameplay. That's why I want to play every game, so I condition the way I do in practice, I condition in the offseason the way I do. I take care of my body, always eat right, and make sure I'm always good."
This is the second time Bell has won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, previously winning it Week 14 in 2014. Coach Mike Tomlin sees huge growth in Bell since 2014 in what he referred to as 'all areas.'
"Intellectually. Understanding of the game, not necessarily what it is he does, but how it fits in the bigger picture," said Tomlin. "The intellectual conversions with him are much different today than they were then. Just understanding how to play the position, the nuances of the position, the protection of the ball, the protection of himself. He is a guy that has got some talent, but equally or more important than that he has a desire to be great and a work ethic to boot. He is a much better conditioned athlete today that he was in 2014. I mean it when I say all areas."