The Bengals’ top pass-catching running back tore his left ACL against the Bills today, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms this diagnosis (Twitter link) in what’s become a dreadful day for a franchise that will be missing a massive chunk of its receiving yardage going forward.
Bernard’s injury occurred on the Bengals’ final drive, one that fell short of the end zone as the Bills held on to the road victory. The fourth-year running back caught four passes on Cincinnati’s ill-fated march and did not require a game-stopping sequence to be helped off. But his season appears to be over, with the fortunes of the Bengals having taken a drastic turn for the worse.
Playing again in a timeshare with Jeremy Hill, Bernard totaled 673 yards from scrimmage this season. The former second-round pick who signed an extension this offseason was likely heading toward a fourth straight season with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage. He eclipsed 1,200 in the two years in which he played all 16 regular-season games — 2013 and ’15. Bernard entered this season having never played fewer than 13 in a campaign.
In losing Green and Bernard, the Bengals will be without their Nos. 1 and 3 receiving options. Both are signed to long-term deals, however. Bernard’s extension years will begin in 2017, with the former North Carolina running back being on the Bengals’ books for $3.75MM next season.
Cincinnati dropped to 3-6-1 today and is likely going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.