Bengals' Bernard on PFWA all-rookie team

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
4:15
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Giovani Bernard, the Cincinnati Bengals' rookie running back, was honored Tuesday for the statistics he compiled this season and the flashy runs that have proven to be a hallmark of his play.

The Bengals' only representative, Bernard was named to the Pro Football Writers of America's all-rookie team. He joined the likes of Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy, San Diego receiver Keenan Allen and Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon.

Lacy ultimately beat out all first-year players for the team's highest award, taking home rookie of the year honors.

With appearances in all 16 regular-season games, Bernard collected 1,209 yards of total offense as a rusher and receiver. That was the most offensive production of any rookie this season. He rushed for 695 yards and had another 514 receiving. In all, he had eight total touchdowns.

In the Bengals' lone playoff game against San Diego two weeks ago, Bernard rushed 12 times for 45 yards and caught seven passes for 73 yards. It was his fumble near the goal line at the end of one second-quarter reception that went down as one of the most memorable plays in the 27-10 loss. Had he held on, the Bengals likely would have ended up getting a key touchdown and momentum entering halftime.

That miscue aside, though, Bernard had as close to perfect a first year as the Bengals could have dreamed. He only had one other fumble in the regular season and became an instant favorite of fantasy owners and highlight reel editors alike. After his winding, weaving run at the end of a 20-yard touchdown reception in the Week 2 Monday night game against Pittsburgh, millions nationwide saw the explosive nature of his play. In addition to that head-turning play, he had one field-reversing, tackle-breaking, stumbling, juking 35-yard touchdown run that came in a comeback bid at Miami on a Thursday night. It was punctuated by a front flip in the end zone.

Plays like those are reasons why Bernard's appearance on a PFWA awards list shouldn't be surprising. This certainly won't be the last time the football world sees his name attached to an award.

He's the second Bengals player to be honored by the PFWA in as many days. On Monday, linebacker Vontaze Burfict made it on the group's all-AFC team.

To see the complete awards list, visit the PFWA's website.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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