After Jeremy Hill fumbled away the Bengals best chance at playoff glory since the late ’80s, it seemed like that play may have broken him. At the beginning of this season, he didn’t seem like himself. He wasn’t playing too poorly, but he wasn’t anywhere near his once-explosive self. Rather than celebrate after touchdowns like he once did, Hill now sheepishly handed the ball to the referee, almost as if each score was a penance for sins of the past. That was, until the Browns came into town. The Browns are very bad at football, and maybe playing against a team like that is the sort of thing Hill needed to put a little pep in his step. After scoring on Sunday, he exorcised his demons and started dancing in just the right sort of celebratory, non-sexual manner befitting of a National Football League employee. His early production led to an explosive offensive performance, the best by the Bengals in decades. A few stats of note from the game:
- The Bengals totaled 271 yards rushing as a team on 30 carries. The last team to hit that mark was the AFL’s Dallas Texans in 1961. That team rushed for 284 yards on 27 attempts.
- This was the 28th time in NFL history that a team averaged at least 9 rushing yards per attempt, and the second time for the franchise. In Corey Dillon’s epic 278-yard game against the Broncos in 2000, the Bengals ran for 407 yards (thanks to Peter Warrick’s 3 carries for 90 yards) and average 11 yards per attempt. (Also, let’s not forget how bad the Bengals were back then. In that same game, Akili Smith who completed 2 of 9 passes for 35 yards, before being replaced by Scott Mitchell, who didn’t complete a single pass.)
- Oddly, though, yards per rushing attempt isn’t a very good predictor of success. Teams with 9+ yards per carry have a record of 13-15.
- On the flip side, the Bengals let Browns backup to the backup of the backup’s backup quarterback Kevin Hogan rush for 104 yards in his first career game. That means that Kevin Hogan rushed for more yards in his first career game than the following: Adrian Peterson, Curtis Martin, Ricky Watters, and Ahman Green. So in short, Kevin Hogan may be a garbage quarterback, but he’s clearly going to be one of the best running backs of all-time.
On this week’s Fulcher 2 Stay podcast, we discussed the Bengals victory and wish the great Corey Dillon a happy birthday.