9 carries for Joe Mixon in the first half
As the television broadcasters continuously pointed out, Joe Mixon ran the ball well in the first half. The broadcasters seemed shocked that the Bengals could muster anything in the way of a ground attack but that is not the talking heads’ fault. If you do not follow the Bengals closely and only look at the stats, it is easy to understand why they would come to that conclusion.
However, it has been more a question of willingness than ability regarding running the ball with Mixon or any other Bengals running back. Mixon was successful when he had the opportunity to run the ball in the first half. He averaged 5.3 yards per rush on nine carries in the first half.
While we are accustomed to Zac Taylor not wanting to run the ball, going against the defense that leads the league in sacks with an offensive that allows a lot of QB hits, establishing a semblance of a rushing attack could have been beneficial.
The device on Burrow’s hand could have been another sign that the offensive play-caller could have leaned more heavily into running the ball. With the backup QB in the game, with two minutes left in the first half, the Bengals did not run the ball with Mixon. At that point, he was averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
The team was amid a two-minute offense, so running is not always ideal. Yet, the situation was such that the team should have given it more consideration. The backup QB was in the game, Mixon had success on the ground, and forcing the Ravens to spend a timeout or two before giving the ball back to their offense should have been considered.
However, with the way Mixon was running, there is no reason to think that the team would have been rushing the ball to force the Ravens to call a timeout or to run time off the clock. It was beyond conceivable to think that rushing was a viable option to score points on the final drive before halftime.
On the subsequent drive, with the help of some pass interference calls, he drove effortlessly down the field to score a touchdown. The Cam Taylor-Britt injury occurred on the Bateman touchdown reception.
Mixon finished the evening with 69 yards and averaged 4.3 yards on 16 carries. Trayveon Williams had two carries for 20 yards. The Bengals as a team averaged 5.9 yards per carry, well above the Ravens’ league-leading 4.2 yards per rush allowed.