Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown can stand on their individual accomplishments with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be included in any discussion about who rates as the NFL's top running back or wide receiver.
For Bell, it's not one thing that puts him in an elite group. It's everything – power, stamina, consistency and elite receiving skills.
It's pretty much the same for Brown. With a league-leading 52 catches in the first seven games, he is well on the way to a fifth straight season of 100-plus catches and a third receiving title.
Wherever they rank individually, there's little doubt – especially in Bell's mind -- that there isn't a better running back-receiver duo than the one the Detroit Lions will face Sunday night at Ford Field.
View photos of the starters for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Personally, I don't think so," Bell said in a conference-call interview Wednesday morning. "I think that AB outside, he's the best receiver in the world. There aren't too many guys who do the things that he does.
"He goes deep. He runs every route in the route tree. He's like a running back, once he gets the ball in his hands. He's special with it. He does a lot of things that I feel like I would do in the open field. You don't see too many receivers who have that ability."
The Steelers are rolling into Detroit on a high note, and it's not just because of what Bell and Brown have done. And they've done a lot. They carried the offensive load in the two-game winning streak.
Bell rushed for 179 yards in a 19-13 win over the Chiefs two weeks ago. The former Michigan State star came back with 134 yards on the ground and 58 receiving in Sunday's 29-14 win over the Bengals. Brown had eight catches for 155 yards against the Chiefs and four for 64 yards against the Bengals.
Including Bell's 12 receiving yards against the Chiefs, Bell and Brown combined for 602 yards from scrimmage in the last two games.
It was a case of the stars playing like stars.
"It was a case of our 'A' players playing 'A', as they say," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday.
"Those guys are being consistent positive contributors to our team," Tomlinson said. "That's what's come to be expected from them. I think they do a nice job of wearing those expectations, and really wanting to be central figures.
"I think it's within the personalities of both of those guys, and one of the reasons they are unique contributors."
How the Steelers got to 5-2:They've had ups and downs, but the impressive wins over Kansas City and Cincinnati have put them in command of the AFC North as the only team in the division over .500. The Ravens (3-4), Bengals (2-4) and Browns (0-7) all have lost to the Steelers already to sink into a hole in the race.
A 19-13 road win two weeks ago gave the Chiefs their first loss of the season after starting 5-0. It was one of the most impressive wins by any team this year.
Tomlin wasn't interested in talking about how the Steelers are positioned in their bid to claim their sixth AFC North title and eighth playoff appearance in his 11 seasons as head coach.
"I don't even know that I look at it in that perspective," he said. "We try to wipe the slate clean every week and get singularly focused on the task at hand. We got the Detroit Lions. They're coming off a bye. We really respect that. We're just trying to add the issues of this week."
Defense does not rest: It has made a statement of its own in the last two weeks. The Steelers held the Chiefs to 12 first downs and the Bengals to 11. The 23 combined first downs equaled the 23 the Steelers' offense produced against the Chiefs.
The Steelers' pass rush does not rely on one player to lead the way to the quarterback. It's a three-way tie in the race to the quarterback. Cameron Heyward, Vince Williams and rookie T.J. Watt are tied for the team lead with four each, and Bud Dupree has three.
Word (one) on Martavis Bryant:Asked if the openly disgruntled receiver is on the trade block, Tomlin replied: "No."
And the last word of his conference call.