Hill fumbled just once in two seasons at LSU, then five times as a rookie for Cincinnati, which drafted him in the second round in part because of his ability to hang on to the ball.
"I had so much confidence last year in my ability to carry the football, I kind of got lackadaisical about it and just kind of said, 'Well, no one can take the ball from me,' and just kind of wasn't respecting the guys on the other team," Hill told ESPN. "That's the worst mistake you can make, especially in this league."
His propensity to fumble did not prevent him from taking over as the featured back by midseason and finishing with 1,124 yards and a 5.1 yards-per-carry average.
"Bernard is still going to get a lot of key touches as the change-of-pace guy," Hobson wrote, projecting Bernard with 8-11 touches per game. "I think [OC] Hue [Jackson] uses him a lot more in the pass game this year. With [tight end Jermaine] Gresham expected to be gone, I'm going to write in Gio for 60 catches."
It's not a stretch, as Bernard caught 56 passes as a rookie, then 43 in 13 games last year. He had a touchdown grab in each of the last two regular-season games and was Cincy's best receiver down the stretch, per Hobson.
Hill was not targeted in the passing game. His 1-yard score late in the first quarter proved to be Cincy's lone touchdown.
Hill rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns in the regular season, surpassing Giovani Bernard in the pecking order. Look for Hill and Bernard to share backfield duties in 2015, with Hill getting more carries and Bernard being featured in the passing game.
Hill closed out his rookie season with three consecutive 100-yard efforts, and he reached the mark five times over the course of the year. He ends the regular season with 1,124 rushing yards on 222 carries as well as 215 receiving yards on 27 receptions to go with 11 touchdowns.
Hill will square off with the Colts Sunday in the first round of the playoffs.
After yet another huge performance in Week 16 against the Broncos
The Bengals rode Hill to victory Monday, on the strength of his second 140-yard game in a row. He rushed for 147 on 22 carries, including an 85-yard touchdown, and pushed
An injury disrupted Bernard's season, but Hill hasn't shown any reason to consider giving the job back since he's been healthy. In the five games since Bernard has been healthy, he has 56 carries and 14 receptions, while Hill has 86 carries and nine receptions, with four touchdowns and 514 all-purpose yards. Bernard will still be around, but moving forward into next season, Hill looks like the back to own in Cincinnati, though both should have some value.
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