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
|Player||Position, team, roster status||Season statistics|
|Mitch Trubisky||QB, Bears, active|
|33–27 win at Minn||Started; 15-21-1 202 yards, |
1 TD; 8 rushes for 34 yards;
27 rushes for
|Eric Ebron||TE, Steelers active|
|27–17 loss at Cin||Didn’t start; 1 target, no catches before being injured in the second quarter||51 catches for |
511 yards and
|Gio Bernard||RB, Bengals, active|
|27–17 win vs. Pitt||Started; 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 Holcomb||LB, Washington, active|
|20–15 loss vs. Seattle||In concussion protocal and missed the game||31 tackles, |
1.5 sacks, 1 INT,
|James Hurst||OL, Saints, active|
|32–29 loss vs. KC||Didn’t start; played |
4 offensive snaps and
3 special-teams snaps
|Played in 10 games|
|Mack Hollins||WR, Dolphins, active|
|22–12 win vs. NE||Started; 2 catches on 3 targets for 18 yards; played 96% of snaps||13 catches for |
131 yards and a TD;
1 tackle, 2 assists
|Tre Boston||FS, Panthers, active|
|24–16 loss at GB||Started; 3 tackles, 3 assists; played all 62 defensive snaps||49 tackles, |
|Robert Quinn||LB, Bears, active|
|33–27 win at Minn.||Started, played 54% of snaps; |
1 tackle, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 FF
|11 tackles, 5 assists, |
|Andre Smith||LB, Bills, active|
|48–19 win at Denver||Played 3 snaps||3 tackles, 1 special teams tackle|
|M.J. Stewart||CB, Browns, active|
|20–6 win vs. NYG||Played 1 snap||15 tackles, 3 assists, |
1 interception, 1 sack
|Jason Strowbridge||DE, Dolphins, active|
|22–12 win vs. NE||Not active for the game||1 tackle, 2 assists|
|Charlie Heck||OT, Texans, active|
|27–20 loss at Indy||Not active for the game||Has played in 1 game.|
|Sylvester Williams||DT, Broncos, active|
|32–17 win at Carolina||Not active for this game||3 tackle; 5 assists; |
1 tackle on 2-point conversion attempt
|Aaron Crawford||DT, Ravens, practice squad|
|Bug Howard||TE, Jaguars, practice squad|
|Ryan Switzer||WR, Browns, practice squad|
|Kareem Martin||OLB, Lions, practice squad|
|William Sweet||OT, 49ers, practice squad|
|T.J. Logan||RB, Bucs, IR (out for season with leg injury)|
|Myles Dorn||FS, Vikings, IR|
|Jalen Dalton||DT, Saints, IR|
|Russell Bodine||C, Lions, opted out of season|