CLEVELAND - Just like old times for Bengals running back Jeremy Hill during Sunday's 37-3 victory over the Browns. A big day on the ground and a touchdown celebration that had them talking.
Which is funny because it had been pretty much a no-nonsense week of practice for Hill. After a sub-par season nowhere near last season's spectacular rookie year, he was coming off a season-high 86 yards following offensive coordinator Hue Jackson taking him aside for a heart-to-heart a day before the Rams win.
So Hill said he had no plans to leap into the Dawg Pound if he scored a touchdown like he did last season. But he couldn't help himself. Only this time he didn't get roughed up like he did when he tried it 51 weeks ago.
"I told myself all week I wasn't going to do anything. But it's just my nature. It happened spur of the moment," Hill said after his one-yard run gave the Bengals a 27-3 lead with 7:42 left in the third quarter. "It's done. It's over with. We won, that's all that matters.
"I wanted to re-try what I did last year and it was more successful this time."
That's because he picked out two Bengals' fans for the plunge, but he said he didn't realize they were wearing the right colors. He also didn't replicate last year's 148-yard romp in the Dawg Pound, but he did get another season-best with 98 yards and 22 carries. After a month of rumblings where it appeared he was getting on the right track, Hill looks to be there at just the right time.
"He was just talking to me. It's nothing we hadn't done before," said Hill of the summit with Jackson. "Everybody senses what's at stake here. There are a lot of things in front of us we can achieve. It's about time for everyone to bite down and do what we have to do."
The Bengals did what they were supposed to do against the Browns' No. 31 rush defense. They lanced them for 4.4 yards per carry on 33 runs for 144 yards, extending their streak to 21 straight games without a loss when they run it at least 30 times. Running back Giovani Bernard added 26 more on five carries as both backs averaged 4.6 yards.
"Our team has been playing well. It's been everyone. Offensive line, defense, special teams. Not just me," Hill said. "I just have to continue to do what I'm doing. Help my team win games, do my job. If everybody does that we're going to be a tough team to beat."
Not everyone was embracing Hill. Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey confronted him as he climbed back down from the stands and the two had to be separated. But not before Kirksey drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that got tacked on to the kickoff.
"They were just protecting their house," Hill said. "If someone did that in our place, we obviously wouldn't be too happy about it. Protecting their house. You have to respect that."
Cincinnati Bengals travel to Cleveland to play the Browns in week 13 of the regular season 12/06/2015