Over the last nine games of his rookie season, Jeremy Hill averaged 103 rushing yards per game. He hasn’t had that many in a single game this year, but his season-high 86 yards in Sunday’s 31-7 win over the Rams was a big step in the right direction.
“It’s great for us and it’s going to be essential for the rest of our season,” said Andrew Whitworth. “He’s the kind of back that’s made for this time of the year. To get him going and running downhill on people makes us that much better offensively.”
“He didn’t have, like, a 25 yard carry,” said my broadcast partner Dave Lapham. “He had a lot of 6-to-12 yard carries and just kind of pounded it in there. He also had a 14 yard catch, so he had 100 scrimmage yards in the game on 17 touches. That’s pretty darn efficient.”
The second year running back out of LSU says the reason for his biggest output of the season was simple.
“Our offensive line played their butts off,” said Hill. “They got hats on a hat on a lot of those runs and that makes my job easier.”
“The Rams came in with 30 sacks and didn’t get any, and they only had one tackle-for-loss for one yard,” said Lapham. “So hats off to the offensive line.”
“We were able to be efficient on offense and didn’t leave ourselves in third-and-forever,” said Whitworth. “We did a good job with that.”
Through 11 games, Hill has 140 carries for 490 yards. That puts him on a pace for 713 yards this season – roughly 400 fewer than he had as a rookie. But Hill says staying positive has not been a challenge.
“Not at all,” Jeremy told me. “When you’re on a winning football team it makes everything so much easier. You throw out the ‘self’ things and the personal goals. It’s all about the team man, because when you’re on a team like this that has aspirations of winning the big one, you’ve got to do everything you can to reach that ultimate goal. So for me, it’s been all about that ultimate goal – just doing what you can do to help the team win football games. That’s all I’m worried about.”
That’s music to the ears of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
“It’s not about individuals; we get rid of that at the door,” said Jackson. “At the end of the year, they’re going to crown one team as World Champions. They’re not going to say that Jeremy Hill is the champion or Andy Dalton is the champion. They’re going to say the Cincinnati Bengals are the champions. That’s all we talk about.”
Dalton has 23 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions, and a passer rating of 105.3. If Hill can continue to average 5.4 yards a carry as he did against St. Louis, the Bengals offense will be that much more difficult to contain in December and beyond.
“This last stretch is the most important stretch of the season to put yourself where you want to be going into the playoffs,” said Hill. “I just have to keep working and keep pounding and we’ll be fine.”
“I thought that Jeremy ran really well and obviously Gio has been playing well all year,” said Dalton. “We’ve got to keep both of those guys rolling.”
“It was definitely good to see Jeremy rolling today,” said Michael Johnson.
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