Cedric Benson finished the season with 747 yards rushing, on 214 rush attempts for a 3.49 yards-per-carry average. He also tied for the team lead with two rushing touchdowns (Chris Perry, Ryan Fitzpatrick) and had the longest rush attempt of the season (a 46-yard yard scamper against the Browns that ironically led to a lost fumble). In his past two games, Benson recorded 282 yards rushing on 63 attempts (4.5 yards-per-rush). In five games, Benson ran over 20 times helping lead the Bengals to a 4-0-1 record. When he rushed for 100 yards or more, the Bengals were 3-0.
In his final three games, he accumulated an amazing 462 yards from scrimmage on 89 touches, leading the Bengals offense during their three-game winning streak. Even more amazing is when Benson ran between the guards, he was averaging 4.5 yards per attempt.
Benson saving his career, is an understatement. Benson giving a lift to the Bengals offense, is just as understated. When Chris Perry started the season, he was suddenly plagued by the inability to find positive yards when his first cut was forced in the backfield (something that killed Rudi Johnson). Furthermore, Perry's three lost fumbles during the season's first five games, fumbling five times in that stretch, set up the eventual demotion after a 14 yard-rushing performance against the New York Jets. When Benson made his first Bengals start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Perry only carried the ball eight times; six during blowouts against the Steelers, Ravens and Colts. Perry didn't touch the ball at all during the season's final three games.
It's well known that Benson will be a free agent. The Bengals have looked into negotiations and Benson said that the Bengals "will be my first consideration." Benson is very appreciative that the Bengals took a flier on him. Along with his desire to play with Carson Palmer, and the way the Bengals treated him when he was down and out, I would be surprised if Benson signs elsewhere. Dude, Mike Brown? OK, mildly surprised.