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Bengals RB Giovani Bernard Was A Record-Smashing Aerial Force Sunday Night

Giovani Bernard has a fancy name and a snazzy game, but he's no passing fancy. How high can he fly? Numbers inside.

Lost in the disappointment of the Bengals' second straight loss on Sunday was a historic performance turned in by Giovani Bernard.

Bernard set a team single-game record for receiving yards by a running back with 128 on eight receptions, which tied his personal best for catches.

His longest play was a short pass he turned into a 41-yard gain that set up the Bengals at the Arizona 2 yard line on the way to a second-quarter touchdown and a 14-7 lead. A 30-yard gain with another short pass to the Arizona 33 set up a Mike Nugent field goal that tied the score at 31. The Bengals lost 34-31.

Bernard added 18 yards on six rushes against the Cardinals for a team-high 146 yards from scrimmage, the third-highest of his career and the fifth time he's led the team this season in scrimmage yards. He leads the Bengals with 891 scrimmage yards, thanks to Sunday night's effort, which moved him past receiver A.J. Green.

“Gio isn’t big (5-9, 205), but he’s probably one of the toughest guys on this team, in addition to being explosive with the ball," Green said. "He practices his butt off every day, and plays his butt off every game. So, whatever he does, it doesn’t really surprise me, because he is just going to give it his all, no matter how big the opponent is.”
Bernard is the team's rushing leader with 565 yards, which ties him for 17th in the NFL and puts him on a season pace for a career-high 904. He had a season-high 123 yards rushing Sept. 20 against San Diego. He has two rushing touchdowns on the season. He has 326 yards receiving on 34 catches.

His team-best 5.4-yards-per-carry average is testimony to ability in getting the most out opportunities. He has the second-fewest carries (105) among the league's top 25 players in total rushing yards. Not that he's being underutilized. Bernard leads the Bengals in touches (139), and ranks fourth on the team in receptions.

“The average is key,” Bernard said. “That’s what you want as a running back. Make the most of your opportunities. That’s how this offense rolls. As long as we win. Whatever it takes.”

Bernard is on a 16-game pace for 54 receptions. His 56 receptions in 2013 are a season record for Bengals running backs. He's on pace for 1,426 scrimmage yards, which would surpass his career-best 1,209 as a rookie in 2013. He totaled 1,029 yards last season while missing three games due to injury.

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