Replicate Joe Mixon’s past success against Cleveland
Newly-extended running back Joe Mixon had a disappointing showing in his first appearance since being signed to a 4-year $48M contract. Against the Chargers, Mixon carried the ball 19 times for just 69 yards and had a costly fumble that led to the Bengals losing their lead.
In two games against the Browns in 2019, Mixon made it look easy. He carried the ball 49 times for 308 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. In the Bengals’ Week 17 win against their Ohio counterparts, Mixon had 26 carries for 162 rushing yards (6.23 a carry) and two touchdowns.
It’s clear that Mixon had the Browns defense figured out in 2019. For the Bengals to win on Thursday, they’ll have to lean on their fourth-year running back and hope he can continue gashing their defense.
However, running against the Browns may not be as easy in 2020 as it once was. The Ravens carried the ball 30 times for only 107 yards in their win against the Browns in week one. Against one of the best running offenses in the league, the Browns defense allowed only 3.6 yards per carry. The Ravens had to win the game on Lamar Jackson’s arm.
While the Bengals have a talented young quarterback in rookie Joe Burrow, he may not be ready to put a team on his back yet. For the Bengals to win, the rookie quarterback will need assistance in the rushing game so that the pressure can be taken off of his arm. That will fall on Mixon to replicate his 2019 success against the Browns.