Rival Report: Bengals back on track with win over Bills | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Cincinnati Bengals Rival Report

While the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns lost, the Cincinnati Bengals climbed out of the dregs of the AFC North with a hard-fought win over the Buffalo Bills. Overcoming turnovers and odds, the Bengals showed improvement and will move into their ‘bye’ week with renewed energy. Here are highs and lows in the Week Five recap.

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Atkins and company got hot against Bills

Geno Atkins had been in a bit of a slump, recording just two sacks in his previous two games, before upping his pressure against the Bills and earning his fourth sack on the season. Atkins had four tackles (three solo) and a forced fumble. Two of his tackles were in Buffalo's offensive backfield.

Atkins wasn't alone in being disruptive and hot on the pass rush, however. Michael Johnson added two sacks and was used a little differently in the Bengals defense - especially on the inside - on Sunday, while Carl Lawson and Vontaze Burfict added sacks of their own while they roved the field. Burfict had 13 total tackles and his energy seemed to be infectious.

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Green having roller-coaster season, too

Veteran receiver A.J. Green has been asking to get more involved in the offense over the past few weeks, especially as quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled. On Sunday, Green recorded an impressive 189 yards receiving and a touchdown. It may have been his best statistical first half of a game in his professional career. But, that ride went speeding downhill.

Green was guilty of fumbling the ball away and was involved in two tipped passes that turned into interceptions and seven points for the Bills.

I don't know how many turnovers we had, but if (the Bills) would have scored on every turnover - I don't think we would have been in the game ... we cherish turnovers. Even if they are in the red zone, we cherish them, and I think it lights a fire in us, too. - V. Burfict

Through four weeks, Andy Dalton had gone just eight-of-15 for 175 yards and an interception when targeting A.J. Green beyond ten yards. Sunday, against the Bills, Dalton completed five-of-eight for 174 yards and a score on such throws, but the tipped balls that resulted in turnovers weren't something either veteran wanted.

Green's 77-yard touchdown catch and another long catch and run, however, helped set Cincinnati up for the score that gave them the win.

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Mixon high-steps into first pro touchdown

Rookie running back Joe Mixon wasn't dominant against the Bills, but put together two of the key plays in the game on Sunday. Mixon scored the Bengals' first rushing touchdown, and his first career TD in the NFL, on a five-yard run that was set up by a 47-yard reception by Green. The run into the end zone gave the Bengals the lead.

Later, Mixon - with under two minutes left on the game clock - and the Bengals offense faced a second-and-eight situation. The rusher grabbed the handoff and made a quick burst for a first down that sealed the win.

The Bengals could use the 'bye'. Both Dre Kirkpatrick and Adam Jones were injured and unable to return to the game on Sunday. Coach Marvin Lewis described Jones' injury as more than back spasms but did not elaborate on the level of pain he was in. Tyler Boyd suffered a knee injury and Tyler Eifert continues to struggle with a back injury.

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