Bengals’ Winners and Losers vs. Falcons

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Sep 14, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) leaps over Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi (94) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Winner: The Running Backs

A lot of factors played into yesterday’s win, but none more than the Bengals running backs.  Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill were simply outstanding as the Bengals relied on them to move the chains, create much from broken plays, and step up while the offense was without A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Marvin Jones.

Bernard finished the day with 90 yards rushing (on 27 carries), five receptions for 79 yards, and one TD.  He bailed out the offense twice while Dalton was heavily pressured (great awareness plays by Dalton also) and took his place as the star of the offense once A.J. Green went down.

Hill had a spectacular day of his own rushing for 74 yards and one TD while catching two passes for 22 yards.  Hill did so much to move this offense while allowing the defense time to rest.

Hue Jackson promised Hill more touches prior to the game and he came through on that promise.  It contributed towards the Bengals’ effort to run the ball nearly twice as much as throw it (24 passes to 45 rushes).  It allowed these young backs to flourish and gain confidence while not forcing Dalton to do too much.

If Bernard and Hill continue to be this kind of dual running and receiving threat throughout 2014, I’m not so sure what opposing defenses will be able to do, especially when Green, Eifert, and Jones all get healthy for Dalton.  Watch out NFL, this running duo may prove to be one of the league’s best at year’s end.