Getting the start Week 15 at Cleveland only days after offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said he wanted one running back to dominate the carries,
So why did
When Bernard was sidelined by a hip injury in Weeks 9-11, Hill carried the load and looked like a natural with it, averaging 120.3 yards on the ground. He likely cemented the feature role with his performance in Week 15, relegating Bernard to more of a backup role.
You wouldn't know it just by looking at the box score, but given the way the carries were distributed over the course of Week 15, Hill looks like a must-start for Week 16 against Denver, and Bernard looks like an advisable sit. Most likely, the Bengals won't be running away with that game.
Bernard rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries and caught all three targets for 14 yards in the shutout victory. He was particularly effective after intermission with 54 yards rushing in 10 attempts.
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has stated that he would like to see one back receive a bulk of the carries so he can get into a rhythm.
"I'm used to having one guy kind of dominate some carries because in order for backs to be really good, they've got to get lathered up to play," Jackson told the team website. "You've got to get a feel for the game. We have two capable guys and they're different guys and we'll let it play itself out, but I think we have a pretty good idea which way we're headed. ... I just don't think I did a very good job this past week."
The pair combined for just 14 carries for 63 yards in the loss to Pittsburgh. The Bengals are awaiting a critical game in Cleveland on Sunday.
"I'm used to having one guy kind of dominate some carries because in order for backs to be really good, they've got to get lathered up to play," Jackson said after Wednesday’s practice. "You've got to get a feel for the game. We have two capable guys and they're different guys and we'll let it play itself out, but I think we have a pretty good idea which way we're headed…Those guys are very capable. I just don't think I did a very good job this past week."
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