Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Staff Writer 354d

The day after: How Le'Veon Bell recovered from massive workload vs Ravens

PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell looked more like his normal self Sunday in Baltimore, pounding the Ravens for 144 rushing yards on 35 carries and adding four catches for 42 yards.

Fifty-four percent of the Pittsburgh Steelers' plays ran through Bell, who tied Franco Harris for a franchise-high 12 games with at least 150 yards. On almost every play, Bell took at least a shot or two from the Ravens front seven.

Despite taking that pounding, Bell was upbeat in the locker room, hopping on the weight scale before a team meeting and saying out loud that he "felt great."

How did he get there? Less rest, more work.

Hot tub: The Steelers-Ravens game is always pain-inducing, but before Sunday, Bell never had touched the ball more than 29 times in a matchup with the AFC North rival. Now, only Ricky Williams has more carries in a game against that franchise than Bell's 35.

Bell said "my muscles feel tight" upon waking up from most game days, and Monday was no different. He drove to the Steelers facility and jumped into the tub.

"It just makes you feel better to start the week," Bell said.

Weightlifting: With the team off on Tuesdays, Monday is still considered a work day, even after victory. Bell doesn't rest too long after a rigorous game-day load. He usually hits the weight room sometime in the morning. Nothing too rigorous, but enough to trigger the muscles after a long day.

NFL players cling to routine -- James Harrison often lifts at 6 or 7 a.m. after games -- but Bell typically goes hot tub first, then weights.

Sprints: Bell then takes to the practice field for length-of-field runs, not for light cardio.

"I go hard," he said.

Bell's goal is to work out any excess lactic acid in his muscles by punishing his lower half the day after.

"We used to do that at Michigan State, and it just carried over," Bell said. "It's almost like tricking your body into feeling better."

Can that catch up to players after too many massive workloads?

"Worked out so far," Bell said.

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