When the Bengals need a yard, they give the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and let him plow straight ahead. Want a big play? In comes rookie Giovani Bernard to catch a pass or make a cutback that turns into something special.
And Cincinnati is far from alone in splitting the role of running back.
Half of the teams in the NFL are using more than one running back regularly to carry the ball or catch it this season. Sixteen have two or more running backs with 25 runs or catches so far, according to STATS LLC. Denver leads the list with three.
Coaches say it's a function of the emphasis on passing and the need to have at least one running back who can catch it.