Bernard is expected to serve as the Bengals' lead back for at least the team's next three games after Joe Mixon (foot) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, James Rapien of SI.com reports.

Bernard had already been filling in for Mixon in the Bengals' previous three games, playing no fewer than 64 percent of the offensive snaps in any of those contests while scoring three touchdowns and averaging 73.6 yards from scrimmage and 16 touches per contest over that stretch. Samaje Perine looms as a potential threat for work in short-yardage situations, but Bernard's standing as the team's clear top pass-catching option out of the backfield should allow him to hold down something resembling a three-down role while Mixon is out. Mixon is tentatively targeting a return from IR when first eligible Week 14, but he's been slower to recover from his right foot injury than expected since it first surfaced Oct. 18.

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