Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) runs with the ball during the second quarter as Cleveland Browns cornerback Pierre Desir (26) closes in at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Dang! Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson sure dodged a bullet this time around. After all, how would it have looked if they’d NOT handed the featured running back gig to the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, an award bestowed to rookie RB Jeremy Hill after his big game against the Cleveland Browns?
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In the Bengals’ walk-over win in Cleveland, Hill ran for 148 yards on just 25 carries, falling two yards short of his third 150-yard game of the season. He also caught a pass for four yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Since incumbent Giovani Bernard went down with a couple of injuries around mid-season, Hill has more than carried the Bengals’ ground load, easing the pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton and helping Cincinnati maintain a slim lead in the AFC North. When Bernard came back to the fold, the two backs shared carries, with Hill garnering slightly more action.
Jackson made a definitive choice last week, though, and handed the ball, figuratively and literally, to Hill.
Hill made Jackson look good, as he has pretty much all season, in becoming the ONLY back in the NFL during Week 15 to pick up at least 100 yard. Before Hill’s honor, announced today, the last Bengal to pickup AFC Offensive Player of the Week hardware was Dalton in a Week 14 win against the Indianapolis Colts last season.
Who says the 2014 NFL rookie class is all about the receivers?