If you look at the statistics, Cincinnati Bengals running backs Chris Evans and Chase Brown had pretty good days at the office in Friday night’s 36-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers - each in their own way.
But statistics don’t always tell the whole story.
Evans finished as the Bengals’ leading rusher with seven carries for 49 yards, an average of seven yards per carry, and was targeted one time in the passing game with no receptions.
Brown, on the other hand, had three receptions for 33 yards, an average of 11 yards per catch, and was tied with Kwamie Lassiter II for the second most productive yardage day by a Cincinnati receiver.
But, looking beyond the stats, neither effort was quite as good as it looked. Evans had one big run of 33 yards early in the second quarter and nearly took it to the house. But that was about it.
The rest of the day? Six carries, 16 yards.
Brown, the much-ballyhooed rookie out of Illinois, turned a short pass over the middle into a 21-yard gain with about six minutes left in the third quarter. His other two receptions went for a total of 12 yards.
On the ground, Chase rushed eight times for 12 yards.
“Chase had more of his opportunities in the pass game so the rushing stats aren’t going to be anything to write home about,” head coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “But I thought in the pass game he did a good job being where he needed to be and making some guys miss.”
On a positive note, Chase, at 5-9 and 215 pounds, showed that he is not afraid to get dirty when he converted two third-and-one opportunities.
“On third and one, we need those guys to be able to get us enough, and he stepped up and did that,” Taylor said. “And that’s not gonna show up in the stats, either. You know, it’s gonna show up as two carries for two yards, and those are big runs for us in that game, and that’s a positive.”
Chase and Brown got more run Friday with veteran Trayveon Williams sitting out due to injury. Williams is still very much in the running for the backup spot, but his injury is certainly giving the other guys a chance to move ahead in this battle.
After one preseason game, though, it looks like the battle for the No. 2 running back spot is still on. With two more games to go before the regular season kicks off at Cleveland on September 10, it will be interesting to see just who will be able to put it all together.
Who will win the battle for the No. 2 running back spot?
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