Le’Veon Bell long ago got accustomed to playing in wintry weather.
“Growing up, there’d be times where it’d be snowing outside and we’d go outside and play on Christmas Day,” said Bell, who grew up in central Ohio and played college football at Michigan State. “It never fazed me.”
Bell dashed through the snow on Sunday at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, setting a franchise-record with 236 rushing yards and scoring three touchdowns to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to their fourth straight victory, 27-20 over the Buffalo Bills.
“Our guys embrace playing in the snow,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of people thinking, ‘Oh, it’s snowing, it’s cold,’ things like that. And that’s what makes me get ready for the game because I know there’s people out there that don’t want to play in the snow.”
The Steelers (8-5) have rode Bell back to the top of the AFC North standings. He has rushed for 620 yards in their last four wins and has surpassed 1,000 yards this season for the second time in his career.
“He’s a Columbus, Ohio, and East Lansing runner, and that’s one of the things that attracted us to him in the draft process,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “These environments are not foreign to him. As a matter of fact, he relishes the opportunity to perform in them.”
Bell also caught four passes for 62 yards, giving him a career-high 298 yards from scrimmage, the second most in team history 23 more than the Bills’ offense complied. Bell has gained 900 total yards in his last five games and is up to 1,616 yards in 10 games this season.
This was the second time Bell scored three times in a game and the first time he had three rushing touchdowns. He’s the first Steelers player to rush for more than 200 yards and score three times in the same game more than once.
Bell carried the Steelers’ offense on a day when Ben Rothlisberger was not at his best. Rothlisberger threw for 220 yards with a season-high three interceptions and had a season-low 37.8 passer rating.
(Editing by Andrew Both)