Bengals: Hill to carry the load
Hill has demonstrated that he can produce when asked to shoulder the lion’s share of the carries. His cumulative +2.2 rush grade during a three game stretch beginning in Week 9, when Bernard was out with injury, was eighth-best among qualifying backs. During that three game stretch Hill forced 12 missed tackles and averaged 2.95 yards after contact, giving him a 53.7 Elusive Rating, the tenth-best mark in that time frame, and well above his yearly mark of 33.7. Hill also broke some big runs, his four longest combining for 158 yards between them, giving him a 43.8 Breakaway Percentage, the fifth-best performance in that three game stretch.
Hill’s production dipped significantly with the return of Bernard and the running-back-by-committee approach in Week 12, averaging eight carries and 62.6 yards per game less. That wouldn’t have been an issue if Bernard was making up for the fall in Hill’s production, but neither back has thrived in the committee; Hill’s cumulative rushing grade during that period was -1.1,while Bernard’s was -0.9. As reported by the Bengals website, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson spoke about changing the committee approach on Wednesday, saying: “It’s not giving me the results I want.”