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Patriots castoff Green-Ellis boosts Bengals

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

It is not a coincidence that the only time BenJarvus Green-Ellis didn't exceed 100 yards rushing in a game over the past month resulted in a Cincinnati loss.

The big reason the Bengals have turned around their season is because of the run game and Green-Ellis — a New England Patriots castoff.

Green-Ellis has rushed for more than 100 yards in four out of the past five games and became the first Bengals player to rush for three consecutive 100-yard games since Corey Dillon in 1999 when he racked up 118 against San Diego two weeks ago.

Green-Ellis will try to add another 100-yard game Sunday against the Steelers.

Saying that, no Cincinnati running back has rushed for more than 100 yards against the Steelers since 2004.

Green-Ellis is in the midst of a solid season; he has rushed for 1,080 yards and six touchdowns and has averaged more than 108 yards rushing the previous five contests. He will look to keep things going against the Steelers, who rank fourth in the league in run defense, allowing 93 yards per game.

One of Green-Ellis' signature plays has been the power-I fullback lead 38 bounce, which takes advantage of a good blocking fullback and an athletic pulling guard.

It's a play that gained 29 yards on the Bengals' first offensive snap against the Philadelphia Eagles 10 days ago.

Cincinnati lines up in a strong right formation with tight end Jermaine Gresham set at the end of the line.

Receiver A.J. Green is split wide left with Brandon Tate in the slot to Green's right. Tate comes in motion to the middle of the line, then reverses back to just outside left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

With quarterback Andy Dalton under center, fullback John Conner (who will replace the injured Chris Pressley this week) and Green-Ellis line up in an I-formation behind him.

At the snap, the offense lineman blocks as playside guard Kevin Zeitler pulls to the right to meet the inside linebacker outside the tight end.

The first block that has to be made for the play to be successful is for Gresham to turn in the outside linebacker to allow the fullback to get to the cornerback around the numbers. If Gresham doesn't make the block, then the fullback will have to help out, thus allowing the corner to make the play.

Zeitler meets the linebacker on the edge, while Conner kicks out the cornerback, allowing Green-Ellis to bounce to the outside to the open lane. If blocked correctly, the safety in the middle of the field will have to come across the field to make the tackle.

The Bengals did not run the play during their first meeting against the Steelers, but they had good success running to the right side early in the game.

Seventeen of Green-Ellis 18 carries and all 69 of his rushing yards during the first encounter came to the right side.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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