But Bernard has been juking defenders and high-stepping to the end zone for most of the year, and that’s led PFF to ranked Gio third in their Race for the Rookie of the Year Award:
3. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: +12.7
At times completely mesmerizing, he was the chief architect of the Miami Dolphins going missed tackle mad on Thursday Night Football. His touchdown was the obvious highlight, but he hit the hole with some authority and looks set, health permitting, for an increased role that will only help his chances of reeling in the top two.
Defensive lineman Star Lotulelei(+13.4) of the Carolina Panthers and Sheldon Richardson (+14.8) of the New York Jets are the only NFL rookies who have higher grades than Bernard, and you also have to account for the fact that Gio is only getting 10-20 snaps per game.
If the Bengals make him the featured back going forward, he could run away with this ward, as well as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy.