Bernard (concussion) exited the Bengals' Wild Card playoff loss to the Steelers with a concussion, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports. Bernard took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier that went unflagged, and that separated the Bengals tailback from the ball after he'd initially notched the reception. The 24-year-old is in the NFL concussion protocol as a result of the blow, and gained 28 yards on six carries before exiting the contest. He also secured two of his four targets for four yards.
Bernard rushed six times for 36 yards and caught one of three targets for 12 receiving yards during Sunday's game against the Ravens. Jeremy Hill led the Bengals' backfield once again, rushing 16 times for 96 yards and a touchdown and adding 19 yards through the air. Bernard may grab a goal-line carry here or there, but Hill remains the upside back of the two for fantasy purposes.
Bernard caught four passes off of five targets for 29 yards and added 14 rushing yards on eight carries in Monday's loss to the Broncos. In AJ McCarron's two starts, both Bernard and Jeremy Hill have seen an uptick in touches, however Hill's has been more pronounced. Through the first 13 weeks of the season, Bernard averaged 12.8 touches per game, but is up to 15 per game with McCarron under center. Hill has seen his weekly touches spike from 13.8 to 20. More importantly, Hill has found the end zone twice during that brief span while Bernard is sporting a nine-game scoreless streak. With the Bengals in a must-win situation and McCarron dinged up, expect Cincinnati to continue to lean toward Hill's bruising style.
Bernard started Sunday's win at San Francisco, rushing for 33 yards on 14 carries, while catching all four of his targets for 18 yards. Bernard had a 14-yard catch at one point, but wasn't able to do much otherwise. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hill was also held in check as a runner, but was able to score a pair of short touchdowns. The versatile Bernard has really seen his carries drop as of late, with just two games of 10+ carries over the last nine contests. Contrast that to the first five games of the season, when the third-year RB saw double-digit carries four times. He's still a major weapon as a receiver, although he's been quiet in that area too, since his eight-catch, 128-yard explosion at Arizona in Week 11. Unfortunately, he and the Bengals' rushing attack won't find things easier next week at Denver.
Bernard rushed for 40 yards on six carries and added three catches off of five targets for 27 yards in Sunday's loss to the Steelers. Bernard saw fewer than 10 touches just twice in the season's first 11 games, but has since been held in single digits back-to-back weeks. Bernard's value depends on touches and amassing consistent yardage given his seven-game scoreless streak. Despite going three games without topping 70 yards, there is hope for Bernard. With starting quarterback Andy Dalton out for at least a week with a broken hand, expect the Bengals to lean on its two-headed backfield of Bernard and Jeremy Hill to ease the pressure off of A.J. McCarron
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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