To date, Green-Ellis has been productive for the Bengals. He's carried the ball 226 times for 885 yards and five scores. His 3.9 yards per carry isn't that impressive until you realize he's converted on over 90 percent of his short-yardage attempts—which is exactly what the Cincinnati coaching staff brought him in to do.
Let's take a moment to break down some of the biggest plays from The Law Firm's past three highly successful outings.
Week 11 vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 21-Yard Run
With time winding down in the first half against the Chiefs, the Bengals line up in a shotgun formation here with Green-Ellis to the right of quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals have less men on the line to block than the Chiefs have in the box, so downfield blocking was key to a successful play here.
Green-Ellis takes the handoff from Dalton and makes the correct read. A defender at the top of the screen is untouched but over-pursuing, while the middle linebacker for Kansas City freezes just long enough to make the play work.
The linebacker whiffs on the tackle in the hole and Green-Ellis explodes down the middle of the field, aided by some exceptional downfield blocking from his physical wide receivers.
Week 11 vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-Yard Touchdown
In a predictable goal-line situation here, the Bengals simply overpower the Chiefs from one yard out. Cincinnati has seven men on the line, with tight end Orson Charles being motioned across and fullback Chris Pressley paving the way for Green-Ellis.
Left guard Clint Boling pulls out and wraps around to the right side once the ball is snapped, combining with Pressley to provide Green-Ellis with a ridiculously smooth touchdown run.
Week 12 vs. Oakland Raiders: 48-Yard Run
The Bengals once again lined up in a straightforward I-formation early in the first quarter against the Raiders on a crucial 3rd-and-1 attempt. Cincinnati loads the line with seven blockers, but in a recurring theme, fullback Chris Pressley leading the way is critical.
After snapping the ball, Pressley explodes through the hole first and nails an Oakland defender, which opens up an opportunity for Green-Ellis to turn on the burners toward the end zone.
Green-Ellis had one man to beat, but as you can see above, he was caught and downed at the 1-yard line by an Oakland defender. He would subsequently punch his way into the end zone on the next play for a Cincinnati touchdown.
Week 13 vs. San Diego Chargers: 41-Yard Run
Green-Ellis lines up as the lone back with Dalton under center early in the second quarter against the Chargers. The key to this play is the two receivers lined up at the top of the screen—Andrew Hawkins and Marvin Jones.
After the snap, Green-Ellis takes the handoff and heads for a massive hole. Jones collapsed down inside and teamed with tight end Jermaine Gresham to seal the edge for this play, which would subsequently spring the running back far down the field.
Green-Ellis had a simple job at this point—cut behind Hawkins as he goes to block the remaining defender in his way and get to the end zone.
Hawkins perfectly executes his block, but through a combination of great angles from Chargers defenders and a lack of speed from Green-Ellis, he is cut short of taking it all the way and ends up with a gain of 41.
Green-Ellis has been great as of late, but most of the credit needs to go to the ever-improving offensive line.
The Bengals currently have a Top 10 offensive line in the league, and it shows on plays like these. There is no longer a weak point on the line with the stellar play of rookie Kevin Zeitler at right guard, the surprise that is Clint Boling at left guard and the undrafted free-agent gem that is Trevor Robinson at center.
Many of the runs above would have been long scoring plays if the Bengals had a faster back taking the handoffs. Green-Ellis was brought in to fix the Bengals' short-yardage woes, and he's done just that.
That said, one has to salivate at the possibility of the Bengals landing an electric runner this offseason who can take these gaping holes and turn them into scoring plays.
In the end, give credit to Green-Ellis. He's making the right reads and is slowly becoming a bigger part of the offense at exactly the right time.