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Le’Veon Bell Enters MVP Conversation

December 14, 2016
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Le’Veon Bell Enters MVP Conversation

Quarterbacks have dominated the NFL MVP conversation for the past decade, but Ben Roethlisberger thinks Steelers teammate Le’Veon Bell has a chance to buck the odds this season.

Bell is one of several running backs with credentials to break the quarterback stranglehold. The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott and the Cardinals’ David Johnson also are meriting consideration.

“I think they deserve to at least be in the consideration, at least my guy,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday about running backs in general and Bell in particular. “I know obviously what Ezekiel has done, but I’d put my vote for 2-6 any day.”

Bell, named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage per game (161.6) and is second in rushing yards per game (105.3) and receptions by a running back (67). He also is fourth with 1,053 rushing yards – Elliott leads with 1,392 – despite missing three games to suspension.

During the Steelers’ four-game winning streak, Bell has amassed 620 yards rushing, 203 yards receiving and has scored five touchdowns.

The only running back to win the award in the past nine years was the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson in 2012. Only eight running backs have claimed the award since 1985.

As usual, quarterbacks continue to dominate the conversation. The Patriots’ Tom Brady, despite missing the first four games to suspension, is considered the favorite heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.

Brady has passed for 2,876 yards and completed 68.5 percent of his passes while throwing 22 touchdown pass against just two interceptions.

The Raiders’ Derek Carr also is in consideration as are quarterbacks Matt Stafford of the Lions and Matt Ryan of the Falcons.

Bell was honored by the AFC after setting a franchise single-game record by rushing for 236 yards on a career-high 38 carries. He totaled 298 yards from scrimmage in the Steelers’ 27-20 victory against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and tied a team single-game record with three rushing touchdowns.

Bell also became the second player in NFL history — Jim Brown was the other — to record at least 225 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and three rushing touchdowns in a game.

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