The Cincinnati Bengals knew they could rely on backup running back Bernard Scott">Cincinnati Bengals knew they could rely on backup running back Bernard Scott to carry the load against the Oakland Raiders if running back Cedric Benson was unable to go.
Turns out they were right.
One week after scoring the game's lone touchdown on a 96-yard kick return in an 18-12 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, Scott recorded his first career 100-yard game in his first career game as a starter for the Bengals.
Unfortunately, Scott's performance wasn't good enough as the Bengals continued their struggles in Oakland: losing to the Raiders 20-17. He finished the day with 119 yards on the ground, including a 61-yard run in the third quarter. He also hauled in three receptions from Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer for 32 yards.
Scott showed the Bengals last week he was capable of handling the load at running back when he replaced Benson in the second half against the Steelers. The fact he was able to gain 33 yards on 13 carries against the NFL's No. 1 ranked rushing defense gave the team high expectations for him against the Raiders on Sunday.
The Bengals knew this would be the perfect week to rest Benson to provide him with extra time to recover from a hip injury he re-aggravated in the first half of last week's game against the Steelers. The Raiders rushing defense ranked 29th in the NFL entering Sunday's game; allowing 155.6 yards per game on the ground.
Even with Benson on the bench, the Raiders still allowed the Bengals to run for 177 yards on the ground and average 4.1 yards-per-carry. Along with Scott's performance, running back Brian Leonard contributed by running for 35 yards on 12 carries.
Still, the fact that the Bengals were unable to leave Oakland with a win after an impressive performance from the ground game has to be heart breaking, especially since they could have been closer to claiming their first division title since 2005.
After the Steelers 27-24 loss in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bengals failed to take advantage and increase their lead in the AFC North. With upcoming home games against the 2-8 Detroit Lions and 1-9 Cleveland Browns, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has to feel more comfortable knowing he can rely on Scott should Benson need more time to rest his hip injury.
Dan Parzych is the Cincinnati Bengals Examiner for Examiner.com
He is also the founder of WhoDeyBengals.com