Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue are used to sharing the spotlight – after all, they were teammates at LSU – but their performance on Sunday was one for the ages. Hill rushed 27 times for 152 yards in Cincinnati’s 27-10 win over the Saints in New Orleans, while Blue rushed 36 times for 156 yards in Houston’s 23-7 win over the Browns in Cleveland.
It was the most prolific combo day in the history of rookie running backs.
“We talk every day,” Hill said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I hit him up, congratulated him through text and then I hit him up on Twitter as well. It’s definitely good to see him play. I’ve been knowing him for a while, so it’s been good to see him do big things out there.”
Indeed, the Texans (5-5) improved to .500 with the win.
The Bengals, meanwhile, bounced back from an embarrassing loss to the Browns and are back atop the AFC North. Hill, 22, has been an important piece for Cincinnati this season, especially over the last three games. He has rushed 73 times for 361 yards – 4.9 yards per carry – and two touchdowns while filling in for the injured Giovani Bernard (hip).
“I think it’s something I’ve been preaching and harping on since preseason,” Hill said. “Every week, I prepare myself like I’m the No. 1 guy. Every day at practice, I’m going to finish hard. Everything I can do to put myself in position to where if something would happen to Gio, the team wouldn’t lose a step and we’d be able to pick up where we left off. I think I try to do that week in and week out to put our team in position to win. I think I did an okay job of that.”
Hill was definitely okay in the final minute of the first half Sunday. In fact, he busted off a 62-yard run in the final seconds to set up a 42-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.
“Kudos goes to our offensive coordinator (Hue Jackson) for having faith in us as an offense,” Hill said. “Everyone did a good job blocking. It was a big play.”
The field goal gave the Bengals a 13-3 halftime lead, and Andy Dalton took it from there, throwing for two touchdowns in the second half.
“I think everyone contributed to Andy’s play,” Hill said. “Our defense did a good job of making sure we kept the lead the whole game, we did a great job running the football, and our receivers did a great job catching the football and making plays. If everyone can contribute, Andy’s play will continue to show, and he’ll continue to lead us to big wins.”
Dalton needed a strong performance after his 10-of-33, 86-yard nightmare against Cleveland. In some ways, so did Hill, who told reporters after the game that the Browns were not that good, that they didn’t do anything special and that the Bengals just gave them the game.
“Surprisingly, (head coach) Marvin (Lewis) didn’t say anything to me (about what I said),” Hill explained. “My position coach talked to me and the offensive coordinator talked to me. They let me know what they felt about it, and we went on from there. No one made too big of a deal about it. Everyone was frustrated after the loss. Everyone’s pretty much moved on from it. Like I said, we’ll play them again. It’s a great division rival.”
The Bengals (6-3-1) play four of their last six games on the road, including a rematch with the Browns (6-4) on Dec. 14.