Le'Veon Bell and the Greatest 4-Game Stretches

Where does Le'Veon Bell's remarkable 4-game stretch from last season rank all-time?

In the Steelers 11th game of the year, Le'Veon Bell rushed for 204 yards and a touchdown.  In his next game, he totaled 254 yards from scrimmage against the Saints and ran for another score.  In Pittsburgh's 13th game of the season, Bell scored three times against the Bengals while gaining 235 yards from scrimmage.  Finally, against the Falcons, Bell totaled 119 yards and ran for two touchdowns.

Over that four-game stretch, Bell scored seven touchdowns, gained 830 yards from scrimmage, and caught 21 passes.  If we use a scoring system that provides 0.5 points per reception and the standard 1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving and 6 points for touchdowns. That translates to 135.5 fantasy points over such period, which is obviously an insane amount of points.  But how insane?  Only six other running backs since 1960 have had greater four-game stretches.  Let's go to the list.

6) Fred Taylor, Games 11-14, 2000

Fueled by a 234-yard, 3-TD day on the ground against the Steelers, Taylor rushed 107 times for 656 yards and 8 touchdowns during this stretch. Add in his 9/56/2 stat line through the air, and Taylor scored 135.7 points during games 11-14 of the 2000 season.

5) Steven Jackson, Games 13-16, 2006

During this stretch, Jackson's worst game was a 31-carry, 127-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Raiders.  An all-around threat, Jackson was at his peak towards the end of the '06 season.  During the final four games, he caught 18 passes for 184 yards, and rushed 107 times for 500 yards.  And he scored a whopping 10 touchdowns, a mark he never eclipsed in any other season.  Jackson produced 137.4 fantasy points during this stretch, winning many championships, particularly among those who still had a week 17 championship game (when Jackson scored 41.6 points).

4) Jim Brown, Games 8-11, 1965

In Cleveland's 8th game of the season, Brown scored 39.6 fantasy points.  The next week, he scored 38.7 fantasy points.  And after a "down" week of 19.1 fantasy points, Brown scored 43 points against the Steelers.  This wasn't even Brown at his peak -- he retired after the season -- and yet he was still as dominant as anyone who has ever played the game.  He scored 11 touchdowns, rushed for 532 yards on just 79 carries, and caught 13 passes for 147 yards, scoring an incredible 140.4 fantasy points during this run.

3) Larry Johnson, Games 13-16, 2005

If you thought Steven Jackson won fantasy owners titles in '06, that statement's even more true for fantasy players who owned Johnson a year earlier (and had that dreaded week 17 title game).  Johnson began the '05 season as the backup to Priest Holmes, but those lucky enough to roster him later in drafts got the steal of the century.  During the final four weeks of the season, Johnson scored over 30 fantasy points in every single game.   He gained at least 171 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns each week, totaling 642 rushing yards, 11 receptions, 114 receiving yards, and 10t ouchdowns.  In week 17, he rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns.  Overall, he scored 141.1 fantasy points during the final four weeks of the '05 season.

2) Marshall Faulk, Games 13-16, 2000; Games 13-16 2001

Faulk had ridiculous performances in the final quarter of the season in back-to-back years, enough to cause fantasy commissioners to question what to do to solve the "Marshall Faulk Problem."  Because back then, having Faulk was tantamount to having an unfair advantage, particularly during your fantasy playoffs. In 2001, Faulk rushed for 542 yards, caught 23 passes for 206 yards, and scored 8 touchdowns during the final four weeks, good enough for 134.3 fantasy points. His four-game stretch gets even better if you go into the first round of the playoffs, as he scored 135.7 points during his last three regular season games and first playoff game.

But he was even better in 2000. Over the final quarter of the season, he rushed for 528 yards, caught 22 passes for 171 yards, and scored 11 touchdowns, producing 146.9 fantasy points. And, if you extend things to the playoffs (Faulk actually didn't fare so well in game 13 of both the '00 and '01 seasons, so his numbers look better when you add in the playoff game), he scored an incredible 153.4 fantasy points during that four game stretch.

1) LaDainian Tomlinson, Games 7-10, 2006 (really, games 5-14); Games 13-16, 2003

During the last four weeks of the '03 season, Tomlinson produced truly eye-popping numbers, scoring at least 37 fantasy points in three of those games. He scored "only" 8 touchdowns and had "only" 473 rushing yards... but caught 34 passes for 317 yards during the final quarter of the season, scoring a whopping 144 fantasy points in the process.

But that was just the appetizer.  Beginning in week 5 of the 2006 season, Tomlinson went on the most remarkable run any running back has ever had in fantasy history.  In San Diego's 5th game, he scored 41 points.  Then 22.8. Then 43.5. Then 38.7. Then 42.8. Then 43.4. Then 23.9. Then 32.7. Then 29.7. And then 32.9.

Those numbers don't even make sense. Tomlinson scored 351.4 points during this 10-game stretch. Tomlinson rushed for 1,290 yards and caught 34 passes for 374 yards. Those are outstanding marks for any 10-game stretch, but Tomlinson also scored... TWENTY-EIGHT TOUCHDOWNS.  No other player scored more than 12 touchdowns during that run. Oh, and this analysis is limited to rushing/receiving: Tomlinson also threw two touchdowns during this streak.

If we stick within the confines of the 4-game rule, then Tomlinson's best four-game stretch was during the Chargers 7th-through-10th games, as Tomlinson scored at least 38.7 points each week.  It started with a 25-carry, 183-yard, 2-TD game against the Rams, bouyed by a 3-57-1 stat line through the air. The next week it was 18 carrries for 172 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland, with three more catches for 20 yards. Up next, the Bengals, whom Tomlinson torched for 104 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, while catching 6 passes for 54 yards. Finally, the Browns, when Tomlinson produced 20-105-3 on the ground and 3-74-1 through the air.  Four games, 168.4 fantasy points.