When the Bengals raised the curtain on their new offense Authentic Joe Pavelski Jersey , Joe Mixon was front and center.
The second-year running back was the focus of Cincinnati's redesigned offense on Sunday, getting all but one of the carries and finishing second in receiving. A 34-23 win at Indianapolis showed a different focus in coordinator Bill Lazor's redesigned playbook.
There's a lot of Mixon in everything.
"He made some explosive plays and he is so talented, he can do it all," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "I thought he played really well."
The Bengals (1-0) wasted no time giving him the spotlight. He ran for 7 yards on their opening play, and either carried the ball or was the intended receiver on seven of their first 14 plays.
He wound up carrying 17 times for 95 yards, a 5.6-yard average. Giovani Bernard got only one carry. Mixon also caught five passes for 54 yards, including a 21-yarder. Only A.J. Green had more catches. Mixon was on the field for 42 of Cincinnati's 55 plays; Bernard was used only 14 times.
Mixon's 1-yard dive with 4:05 to play put the Bengals ahead to stay at 24-23.
It's the most significant difference from Mixon's rookie season J.T. Miller Jersey , when he shared time with Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Mixon got more carries later in the season when Hill got hurt. In the final game of the season, Mixon ran for 96 yards during a 31-27 win at Baltimore.
The Ravens (1-0) visit Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday night, coming off a 47-3 win over Buffalo that featured three touchdown passes by Joe Flacco.
Cincinnati finished last in the league in yards last season, and the running game was one of the worst in club history. A big part was the offensive line's inability to open holes for running backs or give Dalton time to throw. The Bengals have four new starters on the line, which did better in Indianapolis.
"They did a great job executing blocks," Mixon said.
Dalton seemed at ease with the redesigned offense, completing 21 of 28 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His passer rating was 109.7. Dalton's only mistake was a floated screen pass to Mixon that was intercepted.
"Andy played unbelievable Leon Draisaitl Jersey ," Green said.
The Bengals knew they'd face a public backlash when they drafted Mixon in the second round in 2017 even though he'd punched a woman in the face while at Oklahoma. They valued his ability to catch passes and break long runs, and were willing to take the criticism for drafting him.
He's emerged in his second season. Coach Marvin Lewis hopes he becomes a bigger part of the offense as the season goes along.
"You'd like to have more even," Lewis said. "I think he can carry it 22 times."
Safety Shawn Williams was waiting Monday to see if he gets suspended for his hit on Andrew Luck that drew a 15-yard penalty and an ejection.
Luck scrambled to get a first down and slid late. Williams hit him in the head with his shoulder, and there was helmet-to-helmet contact.
"If it's up to me, he should slide and give himself up and he didn't," Williams said. "It's unfortunate to me that there was contact to his head with my shoulder. I'm trying to stop him from getting the first down."
Tight end Tyler Eifert got into the game for 22 plays and had three catches for 26 yards, including a 17-yard gain. Eifert played in the first two games last season before a back injury sidelined him and required surgery. The Bengals are easing him back in as a precaution.
"This is as good as I've felt in a long time Jamie Benn Jersey ," Eifert said.
The Ravens opened last season with a 20-0 win at Paul Brown Stadium, the first time in their history that the Bengals were blanked in a season opener. Baltimore ended the season hosting the Bengals and got their final disappointment, losing 31-27 on Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds left. The loss eliminated Baltimore and put Buffalo in the playoffs.
The Latest on the NFL’s national anthem policy (all times local):
President Donald Trump is once again inserting himself into the culture war over protests by NFL athletes during the national anthem.
Trump tweeted on Friday that he ”can’t believe” the debate has reignited after The Associated Press reported on the Miami Dolphins formally telling players they could be punished for protesting on the field. The NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement Thursday night they were halting enforcement of all anthem rules while they work out a solution.
Trump asks, ”Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?”
No such requirement exists, but NFL owners voted in May to require players who wish to protest to remain in the locker room during ”The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Trump is proposing his own penalties, calling on Commissioner Roger Goodell to ”take a stand.”
Trump tweets: ”First time kneeling Alex Goligoski Jersey , out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he hadn’t decided whether to actually discipline players who protest during the national anthem when he formally told the team that the demonstrations could be punishable.
Ross said in a statement Friday that the one-sentence reference to ”Proper Anthem Conduct” in the team’s official discipline policy was merely a placeholder as the organization tried to comply with league rules.
The team’s policy was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press and listed anthem conduct under behavior that could be found ”detrimental to the club.” The NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement Thursday night that they planned to pause enforcement on league anthem rules while working out a resolution acceptable to players, team owners and the league.
Discord over how players should protest social injustice has put the sport at a difficult crossroads, revealing deep divisions in football itself much like those throughout the United States.
A person familiar with league protocol told The Associated Press on Friday that NFL teams were not required to create any anthem policies when they submitted their annual discipline notices to the league and players. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of anthem discussions between the league and players union are private.
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