He may not say it, but it's hard not to think that Jets RB Le'Veon Bell doesn't have some extra motivation facing his former Steelers team at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. After the escapade that led to Bell signing with the Jets following a full season off because of contract disputes in Pittsburgh, Bell would obviously love to show them what they're missing.
That really hasn't been the case so far this season, though. Bell has had trouble finding holes with his new offensive line struggling in front of him. He is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry on 204 attempts so far with a total 676 yards and three touchdowns.
Bell saw an uptick in yardage against the Ravens surprisingly, when he tallied 87 yards on 21 carries last Thursday night. And that came against the fifth-best run defense in the league in Baltimore. Bell will have to face another Top 10 run defense this week, though, and it's one that he says has solid players from front to back.
"Those guys, they do a lot of two-gapping," Bell explained earlier this week. "I think they got great edge rushers that can rush the passer well. Great interior linemen, linebackers that can flow everywhere. And not only that -- they got guys on the outside, DBs that can play a lot closer coverage and not allow guys to get open so quickly. Pass rushers are able to get home and that makes everyone else's job easier when that happens."
It's a tough task, but there is some hope that he can bust out for some big yardage. Over the past two games, the Steelers have allowed over 100 total yards rushing in their contests. They let up 130 yards last week to the Bills, and 110 to the Browns.
Bell's signature patience seemed to work last week, so maybe him and the offensive line are finally finding that chemistry they've been searching for all season. Head coach Adam Gase and the rest of the team will hope that remains the case this week, as it will set things up nicely for Sam Darnold to run play action and get the ball to his receivers like Robby Anderson, who is playing great down the stretch.
Bell's spotlight, though, will be the biggest. And if there was ever a time for him to crack 100 yards rushing for the first time this season, now would be perfect.