Bengals' Giovani Bernard suffers torn ACL in loss

The Cincinnati Bengals' offense is in dire straits after Sunday's 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

As if All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green's strained hamstring wasn't bad enough, tailback Giovani Bernard suffered a torn ACL during the game, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Monday.

Bernard will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the 2016 season.

After rushing for a career-best 4.7 yards per carry as one of the AFC's most productive backs in 2015, Bernard's average plummeted to 3.7 behind an anemic offensive line through 10 games this year.

Although the output on the ground has been disappointing, Bernard has remained a key cog in Andy Dalton's intermittent aerial attack. Among all running backs, Bernard ranks in the top 10 for receptions (39) and receiving yards (336) this season. He's been one of the NFL's premier pass-catching backs since entering the league as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

Minus departed free agents Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Bernard was often the second or third option in a passing game that has lacked a viable complement to Green.

Now that Bernard is out of the backfield rotation, Rex Burkhead is an obvious candidate to pick up snaps in obvious passing situations while Jeremy Hill shoulders more of the running workload.

The 3-6-1 Bengals face the division-leading Ravens and Steelers in three of the final six weeks. If they're going to get back into the AFC North race for the sixth consecutive December, they will need Burkhead, rookie Tyler Boyd and veteran Brandon LaFell to play the best ball of their respective careers down the stretch.

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