On The Ground
Now for the Bengals running game. I won’t go as hard on the running game as the offensive line. Since Cincinnati was down basically right away, they abandoned the running game and needed to pass, obviously. The Bengals rushed 19 times for a total of 96 yards, an average of about five yards per carry. Individually, Giovani Bernard looked liked the better running back to start in Cincinnati’s offense. He only rushed for 50 yards on nine attempts, but that averages out to be 5.5 yards per carry.
Jeremy Hill only rushed four times for twelve yards but had a long for eight yards. That means Hill rushed three times for a total of four yards. Bernard needs to be the starter going forward and Cincinnati has to seriously start considering drafting Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook or Nick Chubb in the 2017 draft. I understand Hill is the leading running back in rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons, but still the rushing yards speak volumes.
Much like the offensive line the running backs outside of Giovanni Bernard need a gut check. Cincinnati can not win being one-dimensional. Giovani Bernard does not have the size to be an every-down back. Despite what his 50-yard performance may say, someone else needs to step up. Perhaps that person is in a Tennessee jersey, won the Heisman and played for Alabama. I don’t know, maybe.
Cincinnati’s offense is handicapped and while I applaud Andy Dalton for playing well and not turning the ball over, he has to get other wide receivers Boyd needs targets and so does Brandon Lafell. While LaFell was the leading receiver on Sunday he needs more targets. Green deserves the bulk of them, but if Green is double and triple covered like he was in Dallas’ zone scheme it’s on the No. 1 and No. 2. Dalton ,however, needs to give them the chance. Dalton cannot be afraid to take shots.