Bengals: As Playoffs Near, Run Game Gets in Gear

Bengals: As Playoffs Near, Run Game Gets in Gear

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) reacts following an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) reacts following an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

 

CINCINNATI (The Columbus Dispatch) — The Bengals are back in the playoffs, and many of their fans are wondering already whether they will lose in the first round like usual.

A rookie running back is providing hope that things could, at long last, be different.

The Bengals (10-4-1) are morphing into a different type of team as they head into the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Instead of relying so much on up-and-down quarterback Andy Dalton, they are giving the ball to Jeremy Hill and letting him carry the load.

Hill ran for 147 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown run, during a 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday that sent Cincinnati back into the postseason. It’s the kind of approach that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been trying to develop all season.