Getty Images

RBs Giovani Bernard And Jeremy Hill Can Do Something Sunday Not Seen In Cincinnati In 27 Years

The last time the Bengals had two rushers over 700 yards, "Welcome To The Jungle" by Guns 'N Roses was at the top of the Billboard music charts.

In 48 years of Cincinnati Bengals football, there have been just four teams boasting two running backs with at least 700 yards rushing.

Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill are just yards away from joining the exclusive club as Cincinnati readies for visiting Baltimore in Sunday's 1 p.m. regular season finale at Paul Brown Stadium.

Hill, a second-year back, has a team-leading 698 yards. Bernard, in his third season, is right behind with 694. So, the Bengals' rushing title is very much up for grabs.

What seems certain is that both Hill and Bernard, will reach 700 yards. Each are just a carry or two away. Hill, a disappointment after gaining over 1,100 yards last season as a rookie, needs two yards to reach 700. Bernard needs two yards to set a personal single-season high, and six to reach 700. He rushed for 695 yards as a 2013 rookie.

If Hill and Bernard do it, it'll be the first time in 27 years the Bengals have had two rushers with at least 700 yards in the same season.

If one of the two backs fails to reach the 700-yard plateau Sunday against the Ravens, it'll be the third year in a row that Bernard and his backfield mate fell just short.

The Bengals twice previously in their history have just missed putting two rushers over 1,000 yards. That's the dream for some for Hill and Bernard, but it's been done just six times in NFL history.

The last time the Bengals nearly had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers was also the last time they had two surpass 700. They did it in 1988 with Ickey Woods (1,066) and James Brooks (931), who missed 1,000 by 69 yards. That year, third-leading rusher Stanley Wilson's 398 yards were more than the Cincinnati runner-up in 17 of the next 24 seasons, when the Bengals relied more on a bell-cow back and subbed only when necessary (think Corey Dillon, Rudi Johnson, Cedric Benson).

The Bengals began trending more toward a two-back system in 2013 when they drafted Bernard to pair with the aging BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Since then, Cincinnati's leading ball-carrier has had no more than a 54-carry advantage over the second-leading carrier. The disparity between team leader and runner-up was at least 110 carries from 2008-2012.

Below is a membership list of the Bengals' 700/700-yard-rushing club, followed by near misses.

TWO BENGALS RUSHERS MORE THAN 700 YARDS SAME SEASON
1988: Ickey Woods 1,066, James Brooks 931
1985: James Brooks 929, Larry Kinnebrew 714
1980: Pete Johnson 747, Charles Alexander 702
1973: Essex Johnson 997, Boobie Clark 988

NEAR MISSES
2014: Jeremy Hill 1,124, Giovani Bernard 680
2013: BenJarvus Green-Ellis 756, Giovani Bernard 695
1979: Pete Johnson 865, Archie Griffin 688

ON DECK
2015: Jeremy Hill 698, Giovani Bernard 694


Bengals Insider Top Stories