A few days before the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 16 match-up with the Green Bay Packers, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin felt the urge to stick his neck out for Pittsburgh’s excellent rookie running back. Tomlin was asked whether he would still draft Le’Veon Bell over Eddie Lacy, despite the Packers’ rookie having more rushing yards and touchdowns on the year. And of course, Tomlin didn’t back down and called the selection of Bell instead of Lacy an “easy one.”
Well, something that isn’t as easy is deciding who in the NFL deserves the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for 2014. Surely, the honor will be bestowed upon one of the great rookie running backs, but who will it be? If I was a betting man, I would throw all of my eggs in Bell’s basket.
On Sunday, Bell went over 100 yards rushing for the first time of his career as the rookie diced the Packers up for 124 rushing yards and a touchdown. In addition, Pittsburgh ran Bell into the ground with the rookie getting a career-high 26 touches. Just to further explain how big of a workhorse Bell really is: heading into Week 16 Bell averaged 21.9 carries a game, while All-Pro Jamaal Charles‘ attempts per game was at 22.2 carries.
It’s difficult for a rookie to come in and be the catalyst for an entire offense, but that is exactly what No. 26 has done in the Steel City.