Jeremy Hill is starting to look more like the player we expected to see in 2015. After a standout rookie campaign, fans and Bengals coaches alike have been waiting for the return of the dominant running back we saw last year. On Sunday, Hill looked the best he has this season, but the game ended on a downer for him as he left in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. Early reports, including from Hill himself, say he'll be "fine".
Before Sunday's game against the Rams, Hill's best game in terms of yards was Week 1 against the Raiders, when he recorded 63 rushing yards on 19 attempts, an average of 3.3 yards per attempt. He also recorded two touchdowns in the game.
On Sunday against the Rams, Hill put up 86 yards on 16 attempts, an average of 5.4 yards per carry with a long of 15 yards. He added a 14 yard catch, too. In addition to gaining his most yards on the ground yet this season, Hill had his best YPC average, too. The last time Hill's YPC was more than 4.0 was Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs (4.4).
In his first rushing attempt on the afternoon, Hill shot out to a good start and had his longest run of the day.
"I think for me it's just preparing every week the same way, putting myself in the best position to help the team win football games," Hill told the Cincinnati Enquirer after the game. "We are just trying to win football games to put us in the best position possible down the stretch."
Hill also gave the whole team credit for the win and when asked about the running game success in Week 12, he pointed to the offensive line. "It’s a team effort," Hill said via Bengals.com. "When the offensive line is blocking like that, you kind of get the defense on their heels."
Marvin Lewis also acknowledged the offensive line as a key to the running game's success. "Jeremy runs as Jeremy runs and we block as we block; it all works together," Lewis said. "I've not seen a back yet gain yardage if we don't block. We've got to continue to get better at that in every way whether block one back, two backs — whatever we're doing. Jeremy is doing everything he can do all the time so we just keep doing what we're doing."