PITTSBURGH -- Even Le'Veon Bell had trouble trying to process what happened with 5:58 left in the second quarter and what he left in his wake.
"That was one of the better stiff-arms of my life," Bell said of his violent takedown of Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the open field, which resulted in a 42-yard reception during the Pittsburgh Steelers' 29-14 win. "I don't know what happened or what came over me on that play."
Bell tightened his grip on the Steelers offense with a resounding 192 total yards against Cincinnati, dictating the pace with 35 carries for 134 yards.
In the Steelers' past three wins, Bell has produced 457 rushing yards on 102 carries and 116 receiving yards. Sunday marked his seventh career game with at least 100 yards at halftime. This was Bell's third game this season with at least 60 rushing yards after contact. Only Kansas City's Kareem Hunt has more. The 42-yard reception was his longest since 2014. After a slow start to the year because of a training camp holdout, Bell is back to his old self -- and then some.
"Anytime he touches the ball, something magical can happen," fullback Roosevelt Nix said. "He's on fire."
When asked how long he can keep up the pace of 35 or more carries, Bell responded with a question of his own, "How many more games do we have?" he said. When told he has nine more in the regular season, Bell answered, "at least nine."
Bell expressed displeasure with Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict's treatment of Nix on the game's second play. Burfict appeared to kick Nix's helmet with both feet after a Bell run. Nix said after the game that Burfict connected, but the officials didn't see it. He later tweeted about the play.
"My fullback got kicked in the face. That's just not football to me," Bell said. "I don't think that's a respectable play. For me, I just like to play respectable football. Whether you play tough or whatever it is, within the play, it is all fine. After the play, unnecessary things, trying to hurt people, I don't like that."
Burfict has been involved in several questionable plays against the Steelers, including a sideline hit on Bell in 2015 that injured his knee.