Tar Heels in NFL: Bernard scores twice in Bengals’ upset; Ebron hurt; Trubisky solid again

By R.L. Bynum

In a frustrating season for Gio Bernard and the Cincinnati Bengals, it was another Monday night to remember against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bernard, who had four touchdowns on the season coming into the game, scored on a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown to lead the Bengals to a stunning 27–17 victory over Pittsburgh.

Bernard, who has been starting in place of the injured Joe Mixon, ran for a season-high 83 yards (his previous high was 62 yards Nov. 1 against the Tennessee Titans).

“Obviously it feels good to win, but it amplifies everything because of what’s happened this season,” Bernard said. “To be able to beat a team like that. We know they’re a good team. They know they’re a good team. But when you play those divisional games, the records don’t matter. It’s about who wants it more.”

His game was reminiscent of his two-touchdown game against the Steelers on Monday night in 2013 during his rookie season. That night, it was also with one rushing touchdown and one touchdown reception.

The Bengals are 12–2–1 when Bernard has at least 15 carries (he had 25 Monday night). The last previous such game was the Bengals’ Nov. 1 victory over Tennessee. Before that was two years ago against Atlanta.

On the other hand, it was a painful night for Steelers tight end Eric Ebron, who suffered an apparent back injury in the second quarter on his only targeted pass of the game and didn’t return. Pittsburgh has lost three consecutive games after winning its first 11.

It was another solid game for quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the Chicago Bears’ 33–27 road victory against the Minnesota Vikings. Trubisky put up a 97.7 quarterback rating in connecting on 15 of 21 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky completed all eight pass attempts against the blitz for one touchdown and a 158.3 passer rating in leading the Bears to their second consecutive victory.

In the Miami Dolphins’ 22–12 home victory over the New England Patriots, Mack Hollins got his most playing time of the season. He played 96% of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps, logging two catches for 18 yards. On one of his catches, he put a move on Stephon Gilmore, who suffered a season-ending leg injury on the play.

After playing well the past few weeks, linebacker Cole Holcomb missed Washington’s 20–15 loss to Seattle because he’s in concussion protocol. He suffered a concussion in practice last week.

How Tar Heels fared in Week 15

PlayerPosition, team, roster statusSeason statistics
Mitch TrubiskyQB, Bears, active
33–27 win at MinnStarted; 15-21-1 202 yards,
1 TD; 8 rushes for 34 yards;
97.7 rating
14 TDs;
27 rushes for
163 yards;
94.8 rating
Eric EbronTE, Steelers active
27–17 loss at CinDidn’t start; 1 target, no catches before being injured in the second quarter51 catches for
511 yards and
4 TDs
Gio BernardRB, Bengals, active
27–17 win vs. PittStarted; 25 rushes for
83 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch on
1 target for 14 yards, 1 TD
105 rushes,
344 yards, 3 TDs; 40 catches,
289 yards, 3 TDs
Cole HolcombLB, Washington, active
20–15 loss vs. SeattleIn concussion protocal and missed the game31 tackles,
21 assists,
1.5 sacks, 1 INT,
1 FF
James HurstOL, Saints, active
32–29 loss vs. KCDidn’t start; played
4 offensive snaps and
3 special-teams snaps
Played in 10 games
Mack HollinsWR, Dolphins, active
22–12 win vs. NEStarted; 2 catches on 3 targets for 18 yards; played 96% of snaps13 catches for
131 yards and a TD;
1 tackle, 2 assists
Tre BostonFS, Panthers, active
24–16 loss at GBStarted; 3 tackles, 3 assists; played all 62 defensive snaps49 tackles,
28 assists
Robert QuinnLB, Bears, active
33–27 win at Minn.Started, played 54% of snaps;
1 tackle, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 FF
11 tackles, 5 assists,
2 sacks
Andre SmithLB, Bills, active
48–19 win at DenverPlayed 3 snaps3 tackles, 1 special teams tackle
M.J. StewartCB, Browns, active
20–6 win vs. NYGPlayed 1 snap15 tackles, 3 assists,
1 interception, 1 sack
Jason StrowbridgeDE, Dolphins, active
22–12 win vs. NENot active for the game1 tackle, 2 assists
Charlie HeckOT, Texans, active
27–20 loss at IndyNot active for the gameHas played in 1 game.
Sylvester WilliamsDT, Broncos, active
32–17 win at CarolinaNot active for this game3 tackle; 5 assists;
1 tackle on 2-point conversion attempt
Aaron CrawfordDT, Ravens, practice squad
Bug HowardTE, Jaguars, practice squad
Ryan SwitzerWR, Browns, practice squad
Kareem MartinOLB, Lions, practice squad
William SweetOT, 49ers, practice squad
T.J. LoganRB, Bucs, IR (out for season with leg injury)
Myles DornFS, Vikings, IR
Jalen DaltonDT, Saints, IR
Russell BodineC, Lions, opted out of season

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