Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard left Saturday's Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after entering the league's concussion protocol, according to the team's official Twitter account.
Bernard Ruled Out
Saturday, Jan. 9
Bernard, 24, went down after he was leveled by Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier on an apparent helmet-to-helmet hit. He had 28 yards on six carries before exiting. Jeremy Hill will receive the majority of the carries while the Bengals await word on Bernard's status.
In his third NFL season, Bernard has split carries with Hill for most of the season. The North Carolina product had 730 rushing yards and 49 receptions for 472 yards out of the backfield. He's been by far the more effective back, averaging 4.7 yards per carry to Hill's 3.6. It's been a stark contrast to 2014, where Hill broke out in the second half as Bernard struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness.
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson discussed Bernard, per Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
The guy is playing his tail off. I never said it was going to look exactly the same as it did last year. But I know we have to run the ball. And we will continue to run the ball. We're not ever going to shy away from that. We can run the ball better. But how we run it, whether it's two backs, one back, six backs, I don't care, we'll find a way.
Bernard's injury may give Hill an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the job.
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