On Sunday, Detroit running back Joique Bell again served as the Lions' closer, taking nearly all the backfield touches in the fourth quarter. His team escaped with a win ,28-24, as Bell gained 35 yards over the final 15 minutes.
While Bell was doin' work, Mikel LeShoure was on the sideline, doin' not much of anything.
LeShoure may or may not have been injured in the second half -- his head coach said no, but anyone who was watching in the third quarter will tell a different story. After LeShoure's final carry, a toss to the right that gained seven yards, the running back picked himself up slowly, hopped in place, waved to the sideline, and limped off the field. It appeared that Seattle's Bruce Irvin had landed on LeShoure's legs on the tackle, not in the friendliest possible manner.
Here's a shot of Mikel motioning to the Lions' bench after the play...
...just so you know I'm not inventing any details.
Maybe he was simply cramping up, or bruised, or otherwise not seriously dinged. But something happened to LeShoure in the third quarter, and he tapped out. When Mikel left, Bell took over, impressing Jim Schwartz. This from the Detroit News:
"He's strong," Schwartz said. "One thing about Joique, very rarely does the first guy get him down. Scott Linehan (offensive coordinator) and Sam Gash (running backs coach) have done a good job of mixing and matching of those guys and being productive."
Bell ultimately finished with 58 total yards on a season-high 11 touches -- respectable production against a tough Seahawks' D.
Undrafted out of Division II Wayne State in 2010, Bell kicked around the practice squads of the Bills, Eagles and Saints before finding a home in Detroit. He caught the eye of Yahoo!'s Doug Farrar back in the day, following a ridiculously productive collegiate career spent mostly out of the spotlight. Bell won the '09 Harlon Hill Trophy, presented to the Division II player of the year, after a season in which he led his level in rushing yards (2,084), rushing touchdowns (29), yards per carry (6.4), all-purpose yards (2,392), and a bunch of other stuff. Details here.
The point is, Bell had a distinguished career on a small stage, and now he's turning heads at the highest possible level. He's caught 20 passes for the Lions in limited duty over seven games, so he was already on the deep-league PPR radar. If LeShoure happens to have some sort of lingering as-yet-unreported injury issue, Bell will get interesting in all fantasy formats. Detroit travels to Jacksonville in Week 9, so the upcoming match-up isn't too intimidating. Add as needed.