Running back Jeremy Hill, who rushed for 31 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns (which gave the Bengals a 14-0 lead in the second quarter), had a performance that oscillated between good and bad. Ultimately, it became a back page story after Cincinnati's 24-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Hill's touchdowns, enabled by a swarming defense that forced four turnovers, helped set the tone. However, he lost another fumble during a collision with Andre Smith, which led to San Francisco's first touchdown and breaking a shutout. Even more mysterious was Hill's noticeable absence throughout the entire first quarter, standing on the sidelines while Giovani Bernard took virtually every snap on offense. Eventually, with 14 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Hill made his first appearance.
Following the game, Hill directed questions regarding his absence from the game to Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson. Lewis simply said that "we started Giovani today." Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson similarly ended the curiosity on Monday, saying that's "between the head coach and the coordinator and Jeremy. So it's all good. That's it. End of discussion."
Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham said on 700 WLW's Bengals Line, that Hill had overslept during a meeting on Saturday. "Yes, I did get confirmation after the game that he overslept for one of the meetings," Lapham said on 700 WLW's Bengals Line show. "He's going to get fined, he did miss a quarter, and if I'm his coach, I fine his roommate as well."
As Lapham questioned Hill's roommate, asking why he wasn't aware that Hill was still sleeping, he speculated about reasons he could have been late. None of which were really substantiated (forget the alarm clock, time change, etc...).
With the Bengals rushing offense appearing to struggle this season, Hill has been the focus of those disappointments (fair or not). In addition to his yard/rush average dropping from 5.1 last year to 3.4 this year, Hill has lost three fumbles -- though his total fumbles are down, he lost two of five in 2014 and Sunday's was his first since Week 2.