BenJarvus Green-Ellis is, in my opinion, one of the most poorly understood members of the Bengals squad. Most fans seem to think he's just a roadblock in the way of Giovani Bernard's drive to Canton, and some even compare him to Cedric Benson. This infuriates me. Benson was a powerless speed back without enough speed, who's bad attitude and off-field issues piled up more and more every year. BJGE, on the other hand, is the most reliable RB in the NFL at converting third downs and is actually pretty darn good on the other downs as well. Why do I feel confident saying that? Let's look at the numbers from Sunday's game against the Steelers.
When looking at BJGE's performance against the Steelers, you have to consider where we were in the game when he got his carries. If you just look at the stat sheet and see 75 yards on 22 carries, 3.4 per, you're underwhelmed. If you look at his performance in the first 3 quarters separately from his work to grind down the clock in the 4th quarter, you see a very different picture:
1st down: 5 carries for 23 yards, 4.6 ypc
2nd down: 3 carries for 15 yards, 5.0 ypc
3rd down: 1 carry for 2 yards (got the first down)
Going into the 4th quarter, BJGE had so far turned his 9 carries into 40 yards and 4 first downs. Those are pretty good numbers for a RB, I don't care who you are.
In the 4th quarter he had four consecutive carries on their first drive, picking up 13 yards and converting a third down in the process. Then at 1st and goal from the 8 he got hammered by Ziggy Hood after a 1 yard gain, and we went into pass mode.
When the Bengals got the ball back with 4:55 to play, everyone in the stadium knew who was getting the ball. The Bengals didn't even try to disguise it or mix it up. BJGE got the ball on every single snap. Against a nasty group of run defenders doing their damnedest (including Polamalu doing his leap-over-the-entire-line routine), the BJGE Drive went 8 plays for 21 yards and 3:03 of game time, and it ate up all 3 of the Steelers' timeouts. The drive only ended when Gresham was flagged for holding, turning what would have been a 2nd and 6 into a 2nd and 18.
I'm not saying BJGE is the best RB in the NFL, or our division, heck maybe even our team. But he is the best in the league at converting short yardage/3rd down, and as long as we're not having him run sweeps all day (what the hell was that in week 1, Gruden?!?) he is a very good starting RB who should continue to get a good share of the carries.