Getting respect from the AFC playoff contenders will start on Monday night. The Bengals need to play with Joe Mixon’s passion.
Week 13 will be one to remember, for a few reasons. But, they all will have similarities that should help change the culture of Cincinnati Bengals football. If not for years to come, it should be an immediate departure from the stagnant way of thinking. When the bright lights shine on the helmets of the Steelers and Bengals on Monday night, there should be a feeling of sheer frustration and the need for redemption. Cincinnati should listen to what Joe Mixon had to say.
The Bengals handled the Cleveland Browns to stay relevant in the AFC playoff hunt. But, the game was closer than the final score reveals.
Cleveland actually gave the Bengals a hard-fought game that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter. But, there was one play which still looks insane when looped and gawked at.
Quarterback Andy Dalton heaved a deep pass to Josh Malone, down the left sideline. With 3:57 left in the game. Malone made a spectacular, one-handed grab but was crushed by a blow from Browns’ safety Jabrill Peppers. The bang-bang collision jolted the Bengals’ receiver so hard he was on the ground for quite some time.
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After a penalty on the third-down play and the Bengals deep in Browns’ territory, Mixon spied Peppers in the open field. Joe was finishing up a 14-yard power scamper when he lowered his shoulder into Peppers and knocked his helmet off. The perfect end to a powerful run.
"“He hit my teammate the play before and knocked him out and we wasn’t feeling that, so, it was just an unfortunate feeling. I caught him in the middle of the field and was like ‘Hey, I’m going to punish you’ That’s what happened. There are certain situations, depending on what kind of game it is, how the defender is coming at you. It depends how I’m feeling. In some games, I want to make you miss and some games I’m going to make you pay when you try to tackle me.”"
It was unfortunate for Peppers but it was a necessary evil for Bengals fans and players.
If the Bengals are going to have any chance of moving deep into the playoffs, it starts with the Steelers. They have to punch them in the mouth and take no prisoners.
Whatever war-of-words has been flying about has to be backed-up with brute force under the lights. It’s another chance for the Stripes to show they can get the best of Big Ben and the B’s.