Coming into the 2015 season, Jeremy Hill was viewed by many as not only one of the NFL's best young running backs, but even as the Bengals' most important offensive player.
He was anything but during the first three games as Hill gained just 123 yards on 41 carries (3.0 yards per rush) with a long of only 11 yards to go with two scores. Two fumbles against the Chargers forced Hill to the bench in favor of Giovani Bernard in Week 2. Last week in Baltimore, Hill averaged a mere 21 yards on 12 carries (1.8 ypc).
Against the Chiefs in an offensive shootout of sorts, Hill gained only 40 yards on nine carries (season-high 4.44 ypc), but managed to score a career-high three touchdowns, two of which were runs at the goal line in which he broke multiple tackles to power his way into the end zone.
Bengals take 27-15 lead on Jeremy Hill TD (pending PAT). https://t.co/zdgEcDbl17— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) October 4, 2015
Hill said last week he knew a big game was coming, and that was evident after he scored the game's first touchdown to give the Bengals a lead they would never relinquish.
"We needed to start fast," Hill said after the win. "That’s something we preach all the time. To finish a drive off by punching it in there was big. It set the tone for the game."
This was the first time since Week 1 that Hill had more snaps than Bernard (30 vs 23). While the yards may have not been there, it's not often you see a player score three times on the ground in a single game. Plus, he scored the Bengals' first two point conversion of the season, too.
"I kept asking him, ‘What happened to Jeremy Hill?’ Jeremy played like he is capable (of playing) today," Andy Dalton said of Hill. "We haven’t forgotten what he brings to this team. Things just haven’t gone his way a couple of times this season. Those things happen. Big day for him today, and a big game for Gio (Bernard) too. I am proud of those guys."
Thanks to Hill's big day, he's now scored five times in his first four games this season. It wasn't until Week 9 last year that Hill scored his fifth touchdown, so he's already on pace to break his rookie mark of nine scores. He's also back on track for a big year after the past two games had it looking like Bernard may be the go-to back going forward, but it's clear Hill still has that role.