Le’Veon Bell Says He’s Playing Some Of The Best Football Of His Career

Statistics For Jets RB Tell A Different Story

Brandon Contes
November 29, 2019 - 8:00 pm

If you poll Jets’ fans, most would say they expected more out of Le’Veon Bell this season. After signing the free-agent running back to a four-year $52.5 million contract, Bell hasn’t produced the numbers he did during his time in Pittsburgh.

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But according to Bell, look beyond the statistics because he’s playing some of the best football of his career.  

“I feel like I’ve been running hard, breaking a lot of tackles, and I haven’t dropped a ball all year,” Bell told reporters Friday. “I’ve been doing great in blitz pickups and pass protection. I haven’t been making a lot of mental mistakes and any time they call upon me, I make a play. This is some of the best football I’ve played in my whole career. I don’t care what the stats say.”

The stats tell a different story. Bell has yet to rush for more than 70 yards in a game this season while averaging a career low, 3.2 yards per attempt. Bell sat out the entire 2018 season with the Steelers because of a contract dispute, but in 2017 he eclipsed more than 70 yards on the ground nine times.

“As long as we’re winning games I’m fine,” Bell added.

“I’m not feeling bad about myself or anything. This is some of the best football I’ve played. The last two games, I didn’t even play in the fourth quarter, so we can’t expect me to get 150 yards when I didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. That’s a good problem to have, so the fact that we’ve been doing that, that’s all that matters to me.”

Bell’s usage has declined with the Jets, and not only due to sitting out the fourth quarter of their last two blowout victories. The Pro-Bowl running back is averaging just 20.6 touches per game this season compared to 24.6 during his Steelers’ tenure.

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell runs away from Oakland Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen Nov 24, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

However, Jets head coach Adam Gase noted “it was good to get Le’Veon going in the passing game.” Bell lined up in the slot more last week against the Raiders and had 5 receptions for 59 yards to show for it. The running back also averaged more than 4 yards per carry for just the second time this season.

In his last four games, Bell is averaging 97.3 yards from scrimmage, a big increase from his 63 yard average the four weeks prior. The Jets’ running back is now 75 yards away from totaling 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the season, in 2017 Bell had more than 1,900.

Sunday’s game against the Bengals could be an opportunity for Bell to quiet critics and boost his statistics. The Bengals have the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing 166.4 yards on the ground per game. Bell has yet to have a game with 100 yards this season and Cincinnati could offer that opportunity, but for the Jets’ running back, getting a win is what matters most.