Cincinnati is committed to the running game going forward.
And, why not?
The Bengals have two running backs with explosive histories.
Second-year big back Jeremy Hill rushed for over 1,000 yards as a rookie last season. Third-year complementary back Giovani Bernard is on pace for more than 1,000 yards rushing this season.
Bernard ranks eighth in the NFL with 427 yards rushing. Hill ranks 34th with 242. In the AFC, Bernard and Hill rank third and 15th, respectively.
Bernard's 5.5 yards per carry ranks first in the AFC and third in the league. The Bengals want to get Hill back to 2014 form after he averaged just 3.1 yards per carry the first six games of the season.
The Bengals lead the NFL in rushing attempts with 183. They don’t lead in rushing yards, ranking 10th, thanks to Hill's surprisingly slow start. But, for now, that’s an acceptable numbers juxtaposition for offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
“I know we have to run the ball, and we will continue to run the ball,” Jackson said. “We’re never going to shy away from that.”
Jackson, though known for his offensive innovations, has preached stressing the run since he took over as Bengals offensive coordinator after the 2013 season.
Last season, Cincinnati ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing attempts and sixth in rushing yards.
“We can run the ball better,” said Jackson. “But, how we run it -- whether it’s two backs, one back, six backs -- I don’t care. We’ll find a way.
"You have to have enough attempts against really good football teams because, if not, too many things can happen to your quarterback that are not fair and fun.”