The Bengals decision to put running back Joe Mixon on injured reserve on Saturday was the right move.
The Bengals decision to put running back Joe Mixon on injured reserve on Saturday was the right one for the future. Head coach Zac Taylor stated this week that not putting a player on IR is because you believe the player will be back before then. The Bengals initially chose not to put Mixon on injured reserve.
The game on Sunday against the Washington Football Team will assure Mixon will miss at least six consecutive games. Mixon has not played since suffering a foot injury on October 18 against Indianapolis. Mixon was not productive the last two games he played combining for 113 yards on 42 carries against Indianapolis and Baltimore.
The injured reserve list in the NFL is three games. Putting Mixon on injured reserve opens up the Bengals roster instead of continuing to use it for a player who had already missed an allotment of games they could have put him on injured reserve. Without Mixon, Giovanni Bernard will receive most of the work as first-team RB.
The Bengals have been inconsistent rushing this season with or without Mixon. Cincinnati ranks 21st in rushing offense averaging 105.4 yards per game. In the three games without Mixon, the Bengals are averaging 112.67 rushing yards. Mixon leads the team with 428 yards rushing and three TDs with 3.6 yards per carry.
Bernard has put up similar stats to Mixon with 173 yards rushing, 3.6 YPC and two TDs. Mixon and Bernard have both been adept as receivers. Mixon has 26 receptions for 208 yards and two TDs. Bernard has been a good fill-in for Mixon statistically. Using that extra roster spot will help the Bengals depth.
The Bengals announced with Mixon being placed on injured reserve they have activated guard Quinton Spain and cornerback Jalen Davis from the practice squad. Mixon will be eligible to return for the December 13 game against Dallas. The Bengals conclude the season against Pittsburgh and at Baltimore after Dallas.
Spain started three weeks ago and played all but one series against Tennessee and made his first start ever at right tackle against Pittsburgh last week. Davis and Spain are eligible to return to the practice squad after Sunday’s game. This is the first season Mixon has had an injury sideline him for an extended period of time.
Mixon missed two games in each of his first two NFL seasons in 2018 and 2019. Being cautious with Mixon is the right approach. Mixon will be a part of the corps for the Bengals in the future. Rushing him back this season could lead to long-term damage. Bernard has been a sufficient replacement with Mixon out.