Nov 21, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) and Brandon Allen (8) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals home and hoping to keep Steelers at bay in AFC North

The Cincinnati Bengals attempt to climb into rare territory during an AFC North showdown with the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bengals (6-4) have a shot at a sweep of the season series from the in-division rival for the first time since 2009.

Thanks to a home win in December 2020, and a 24-10 victory over the Steelers (5-4-1) earlier this season, Cincinnati is positioned to win a third in a row against Pittsburgh.

That hasn’t happened since the late 1980s, when the Bengals won six straight over the Steelers from 1988-90. Cincinnati is currently second in the AFC North and No. 5 in the AFC.

“I really don’t care about the next three weeks, it’s just this week,” said Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor. “It’s Pittsburgh. I know our city is going to be (pumped) up for this one.”

The Steelers are all sorts of motivated.

Pittsburgh saw a five-game unbeaten streak end on Sunday night in a 41-37 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bengals controlled the line of scrimmage in the first meeting, much the same way Los Angeles did in Week 11.

The Steelers played both of those games without standout linebacker T.J. Watt (hip/knee), and limped into last week without cornerback Joe Haden (foot), safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (Reserve/COVID-19) and defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk (groin).

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he expects all four to be available Sunday in Cincinnati, but only Watt and Loudermilk were limited participants on Wednesday. Haden did not participate, and Fitzpatrick remained on the COVID list. In addition, tight end Eric Ebron (knee), and a pair of offensive linemen — J.C. Hassenauer (pectoral) and Tral Turner (knee) — were also out.

“This is a big week for us,” said Tomlin. “We’re not going to play it cool and pretend like it’s not or downplay it. This is significant AFC North football for us.”

The AFC North remains bunched with every game offering a potentially huge opportunity to swing the standings. Baltimore (7-3) leads, but the Bengals, Steelers, and Cleveland (6-5) all remain in the hunt.

“You got to go on the road and win games in this division,” Tomlin said. “The sugar on top is obviously earlier in the season, they were able to come into our place and win.”

If the Steelers want to reverse the outcome, they’ll have to do more to help Ben Roethlisberger. The 39-year-old quarterback threw for 318 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati in the first matchup, but was also harassed into four sacks and two interceptions as he threw it 57 times. Running back Najee Harris (685 rushing yards, five TDs) will also need to be more of a factor.

So will the defense. The Bengals are balanced with second-year quarterback Joe Burrow getting all of his weapons — from rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase (42 for 867 yards, eight TDs) to experienced running back Joe Mixon (759 rushing yards, nine TDs) — involved. This time, however, he’ll have to contend with Watt (12.5 sacks).

“(In the first meeting) the defense played great, we ran the ball and were efficient,” Burrow said. “But they didn’t have T.J. Watt. … It’ll be a different game.”

Cincinnati snapped a two-game slide with a definitive win at Las Vegas (32-13) last week. Burrow threw the ball just 18 times, for 172 yards and three touchdowns, as the Bengals leaned on Mixon and their defense to blow the game open in the second half.

“We can do a lot of different things and win games in different ways,” Burrow said.

The Bengals will enter in good shape, with only WR Auden Tate (thigh) listed a non-participant during Wednesday’s practice

Roethlisberger shook off a one-week stay on the Reserve/COVID 19 list and was sharp last week against the Chargers (273 yards, three TDs) while hitting eight different receivers. A similar approach will be needed again, he said.

“A lot of people got involved,” said Roethlisberger. “We had a lot of different guys catch touchdowns. We did a little bit of a no-huddle type thing. It’s something to build on.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) dives into the end zone to score a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals send Raiders to third straight loss

Joe Mixon rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries and Evan McPherson kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards to lift the Cincinnati Bengals to a 32-13 victory over the host Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Joe Burrow went 20-for-29 passing for 148 yards and a touchdown as the Bengals (6-4) ended a two-game losing streak. Tyler Boyd had six receptions for 49 yards, with Ja’Marr Chase adding three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.

Derek Carr went 19-for-27 passing for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception, with tight end Darren Waller catching seven passes for 116 yards for the Raiders (5-5), who have lost three straight games.

Leading 10-6 at halftime, the Bengals extended their lead to 16-6 when McPherson hit from 53 and 51 yards in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

The Raiders pulled to 16-13 on Carr’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Foster Moreau that capped a three-play, 75-yard drive with 11:42 to play.

But that’s as close as the Raiders would get, as Burrow lofted a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase in the corner of the end zone to give the Bengals a 22-13 lead after McPherson missed the extra point with 5:03 left.

Carr was intercepted by Eli Apple at the Raiders’ 42-yard line two plays later. After a personal foul moved the ball to the 27-yard line, Mixon followed a 7-yard run with a 20-yard burst up the middle for a touchdown and a 29-13 lead with 3:51 left.

McPherson’s fourth field goal of the game, this one from 47 yards, capped the scoring with 1:04 left.

The Raiders took a 3-0 lead on Daniel Carlson’s 26-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game, but the Bengals pulled even just over three minutes later when McPherson hit from 54 yards to cap the first-quarter scoring.

After the Raiders took a 6-3 lead on Carlson’s 47-yard field goal with 11:06 left in the half, the Bengals countered on their next possession to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mixon ran 11 yards around right tackle and into the end zone for a 10-6 lead to cap a 12-play, 72-yard drive with 4:15 left in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates the touchdown scored by wide receiver Bryan Edwards (89) during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals, Raiders stare down must-wins in contest

The Cincinnati Bengals and host Las Vegas Raiders will each try to end a two-game losing streak that has dampened a promising start when they meet on Sunday.

The Bengals (5-4) and Raiders (5-4) were each atop their respective divisions a few weeks ago but are now seeking a much-needed victory to prevent them from falling further out of playoff contention.

The Bengals took over first place in the AFC North Division with a dominating, 41-17 win at Baltimore on Oct. 24, when they put up 520 yards of total offense. But they followed their best performance of the season with two of their two worst outings, falling 34-31 to the last-place Jets before getting blown out at home, 41-16 to the last-place Browns on Nov. 7.

Cincinnati had its bye last week.

“You’re going to see a good football team after this bye,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “We’ve got a lot of season left in front of us. We’re going to learn from this, move on, and be a team to be reckoned with here in November and December.”

The Raiders also opened up 5-2 and appeared to be a threat to dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC West. But a 23-16 loss to the Giants followed by a 41-14 setback to the visiting Chiefs on Sunday have dropped the Raiders to third place in the division.

The Raiders’ Derek Carr and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow are each enjoying good seasons.

Carr is fourth with 2,826 yards and tied for 12th with 15 passing touchdowns. He’s 278 yards shy of eclipsing 30,000 career passing yards.

Burrow is seventh with 2,497 yards and tied for fourth with 20 touchdown passes, but he’s also tied for the league lead with 11 interceptions, three more than Carr.

Cincinnati rookie Ja’Marr Chase has flourished playing with Burrow, his former college teammate at LSU. Chase has 44 receptions for 835 yards, averaging an impressive 19 yards per catch.

Las Vegas tight end Darren Waller (44 receptions, 494 yards, 2 TDs) and receiver Hunter Renfrow (52 receptions, 494 yards, 4 TDs) have been consistent this season.

Bryan Edwards (21 receptions, 434 yards, 2 TDs) has taken the spot vacated by Henry Ruggs III. The team released Ruggs after he was charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor for his role in a crash that killed a woman and her dog earlier this month.

Both teams are ranked in the bottom 10 in rushing, with the Bengals having rushed for 874 yards — led by Joe Mixon’s 636 yards and seven touchdowns — while the Raiders have mustered just 765 yards, led by Josh Jacobs’ 296 yards and two scores on 80 carries. However, Jacobs was limited in practice on Wednesday due to an ailing knee.

Neither team has excelled defensively this season, with the Bengals 18th in total defense (361.2 ypg) and 11th in points allowed (22.6 ppg). The Raiders rank 16th in total defense (360.1 ypg) and 26th in points allowed (25.6 pg).

“I don’t think effort has been an issue,” Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said. “We have to do a better job of cleaning up certainly the penalties we’ve gone through now over the last few weeks and then our execution, being able to execute the play that’s called both on offense and on defense. And then we want to keep getting better at tackling.”

The Bengals should enter Sunday’s game pretty healthy. Defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday, while center Trey Hopkins (knee) and receiver Auden Tate (thigh) were limited.

Las Vegas, which lost fullback Alec Ingold to a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered against the Chiefs, had four players who didn’t practice on Wednesday — linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle), cornerback Amik Robertson (hip), running back Jalen Richard (ribs) and cornerback Keisean Nixon (ankle/foot).

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn observes minicamp practice, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. 

Cincinnati Bengals Mini Camp 6 11 2019

Bengals’ Katie Blackburn becomes 1st woman on competition committee

The NFL has reworked the formation of its competition committee, expanding the committee from nine members to 10, and in the process has added Cincinnati Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn to said committee … the first woman to serve in that capacity in the league’s history.

Multiple outlets are reporting that the entity responsible for rules changes and league bylaws is adding four new members and losing three. In addition to Blackburn, Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel and Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier are joining the committee.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway and Green Bay Packers president and chief executive officer Mike Murphy are departing.

Members being retained include Dallas Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones, Baltimore Ravens executive vice president Ozzie Newsome, New York Giants owner John Mara, Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Blackburn, the granddaughter of legendary coach Paul Brown and daughter of Bengals owner Mike Brown, has been a part of the team’s front office since 1991.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Turnovers doom Bengals as Browns roll in Cincinnati

The visiting Cleveland Browns got by just fine without Odell Beckham Jr. and blasted the Cincinnati Bengals 41-16 Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Nick Chubb rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries and Baker Mayfield finished 14-of-21 passing for 218 yards and two TDs. The Browns (5-4) turned three Cincinnati turnovers into 13 points to win for the sixth time in the last seven meetings against their in-state and AFC North rival.

CB Troy Hill had two sacks, DE Myles Garrett had 1.5 more and Cleveland held the Bengals to a season-low point total. Cleveland’s 41 points matched its total from the three previous games combined.

Cincinnati (5-4) has lost two straight. Joe Mixon totaled 110 yards on 18 touches and scored two TDs on the ground. Joe Burrow completed 28 of 40 passes for 282 yards, but he was intercepted twice and failed to throw at least two touchdowns in a game for the first time this season. Sensational rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase had six catches for 49 yards but was kept out of the end zone and lost a fumble in the first half.

Cleveland led 34-10 after three quarters despite running just 29 offensive plays. Chubb burst through for a 70-yard touchdown in the middle of the quarter, and the Browns cashed in Burrow’s second interception with a 24-yard Chase McLaughlin field goal with 5:14 left in the frame.

Mixon scored his second TD, a 2-yard run, with 13:51 left but the Bengals failed on the 2-point conversion. Mayfield finished the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown to David Njoku with 4:27 remaining.

The Browns ran just 15 plays in the first half and were outgained 249-160, but still led 24-10 thanks to a pair of takeaways that generated 10 points.

Cincinnati’s first drive was clicking along, but ended with Burrow’s interception at the 1-yard line. Denzel Ward stepped in front of an out route and raced 99 yards the other way untouched for a 7-0 lead.

The Bengals ultimately ran the game’s first 20 offensive snaps, and tied it 7-7 after Mixon’s 11-yard TD run with 4:10 left in the opening quarter.

Chubb scored from the 1-yard line to cap the Browns’ first offensive drive and make it 14-7 early in the second quarter. After stuffing Cincinnati on fourth and short, Cleveland scored on the next play when Mayfield launched a 60-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones and a 21-7 lead with 10:10 left.

Chase’s lost fumble led to McLaughlin’s 28-yard field goal with 4:10 left in the half. The Bengals got points just before the half ended, on Evan McPherson’s 27-yard field goal, to make it 24-10.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (26) runs with the ball after an interception during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals get Vernon Hargreaves III off waivers

The Cincinnati Bengals were quick to scoop up help in their defensive secondary, claiming Vernon Hargreaves III off waivers Thursday.

Hargreaves was released by the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

The Bengals also activated offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji to the active roster from the non-football injury list. In corresponding moves, the Bengals waived defensive end Darius Hodge and cornerback Nick McCloud.

Hargreaves started five of eight games for the Texans this season and had 27 tackles and one interception. The 26-year-old played 96 percent of the defensive snaps during Sunday’s 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Hargreaves has 285 tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in 65 NFL games (57 starts). He was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Buccaneers.

Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes remains on injured reserve.

Adeniji has not played this season after suffering an injury while working out ahead of training camp. He started five of 15 games last year as a rookie.

The Bengals (5-3) play host to the Cleveland Browns (4-4) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (98) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the first half of an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Browns 23

Browns work through distractions ahead of key tilt vs. Bengals

The Cleveland Browns are packing some extra baggage for their trip to Cincinnati on Sunday as the latest installment of the ‘Battle for Ohio’ against the Bengals approaches.

Call it a suitcase full of distraction.

Speculation is high that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won’t play this week, or possibly ever again for Cleveland, following an Instagram video posted earlier this week by his father that was critical of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham did not practice Wednesday, with his absence tagged “Shoulder/not injury related — personal matter.” As several national outlets reported that the team and the 28-year-old were negotiating a way to end their relationship, head coach Kevin Stefanski punted on any further explanation.

“Today he’s excused and we’ll see how it goes,” Stefanski said. “We’ll know more as we go.”

Beckham missed the first two games of the season recovering from ACL surgery last year. He recently has been playing through a shoulder injury and has amassed 17 catches for 232 yards with no touchdowns in six games.

Mayfield, who has just three interceptions but only six TDs this season, said he was surprised by the social media post.

“Hurt? No. Surprised? Yes,” Mayfield said. “I would take anything to have a winning team right now. Our focus needs to be on winning.”

The Browns (4-4), losers in three of their last four, haven’t scored more than 17 points since Week 5.

The Bengals (5-3) aren’t worried about the Beckham drama. Their focus lies in exorcizing last week’s late collapse (34-31) at the New York Jets, and accounting for Cleveland pass rusher Myles Garrett — who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks.

“You’re always thinking about a guy like that,” said Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, who is the only quarterback in the NFL to throw at least two touchdowns in every game this season.

The Bengals have lost five of their last six against Cleveland, including both in Burrow’s rookie season in 2020. Burrow accounted for seven touchdowns in the two games, but Garrett notched sack-fumbles in each game as well.

“We go in saying we have to try to protect our quarterback,” said Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor. “We have got to be on top of the details.”

Despite the upset stunner last week, the Bengals are right on the heels of 5-2 Baltimore in the AFC North. With a win against the Browns, Cincinnati would hold a 3-0 in-division record with wins against each of the other teams.

With an improving defense bulwarked by linebacker Logan Wilson (4 interceptions) and DE Trey Hendrickson (7.5 sacks), the Bengals believe they have everything in place to make a division title run.

Running back Joe Mixon adds to the offensive bunch provided by Burrow and rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (38 catches-786 yards, seven TDs).

“We talked about what happened last week and now we’re on to this week,” Burrow said. “It’s a game we need to win.”

The same can be said for Cleveland.

Ravaged by injuries most of the season, the Browns now have the distraction of Beckham’s situation. Asked if there is a “legit” rift in his locker room, Stefanski said: “There’s a legit feeling that we need to get a win this week.”

Cleveland has other lineup shuffling to do, too.

RB Nick Chubb (584 rushing yards, four TDs) has returned, but 16 players landed on Wednesday’s injury report with eight listed as non-participants.

Those DNPs include wide freceiver Jarvis Landry (knee), defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney (ankle/knee/hip) and Takkarist McKinley (groin), defensive tackles Malik Jackson (ankle) and Malik McDowell (illness), safety John Johnson III (neck) and right tackle Jack Conklin (elbow) who is out several weeks.

Cincinnati has been able to avoid major injury issues so far. Only center Trey Hopkins (knee) and edge rusher Cam Sample (knee) were DNPs at practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) congratulates Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) for his first quarter touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 BYU rolls out record-setting offense vs. Idaho State

Keeping pace with BYU has been a difficult task for Idaho State. And this version of the Cougars might be the most explosive to date.

This is the reality ahead for Idaho State in Provo, Utah on Saturday.

BYU (7-2) is hosting the Bengals for the fourth time since leaving the Mountain West Conference in 2011. Idaho State lost all three previous games by an average margin of 43.6 points and is 0-6 all-time against the Cougars.

BYU posted a record-setting 66-49 victory over Virginia last week. The Cougars and the Cavaliers combined for 1,322 total yards and 115 points — setting a LaVell Edwards Stadium record. BYU totaled 734 yards and finished with at least 300 passing yards and 300 rushing yards in the same game for the first time since 2005 and only the fourth time in school history.

“Defensive coaches don’t really like this game, but it felt like an old-school BYU type of game,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said.

Tyler Allgeier and Jaren Hall have taken turns providing fuel for the Cougars’ roaring offense. Both players had career bests against Virginia — Allgeier rushed for 266 yards and five touchdowns while Hall threw for 349 yards and three TDs.

Allgeier currently leads the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns, ranks third in total rushing yards (1,127) and is fifth in total all-purpose yards (1,231).

Hall’s evolution as a quarterback has been a difference maker in recent weeks. Since coming back from a rib injury, he has had three 300-yard passing games in his last four games. Coupled with his natural mobility, Hall is making it tough for other teams to game plan against him.

“He seems to know where to go with the ball no matter what the defense does,” Sitake said.

Stopping a resurgent BYU offense keyed by Hall and Allgeier offers a major hurdle to a beleaguered Idaho State team taking a pause from Big Sky Conference play this week. The Bengals (1-7) are tied for 99th in the FCS in scoring defense, allowing 33.75 points per game. They are 112th among FCS teams in total defense, yielding 448.9 yards per contest.

Idaho State has had issues on both sides of the ball. The Bengals have mustered more than 21 points in a game just once this season.

Stepping out of league play this late in the season to face a Top 25 opponent isn’t ideal, but it offers Idaho State a rare spotlight and chance to build positive momentum for next season.

“You just got to switch your mind frame,” Bengals coach Rob Phenicie said. “You go in to compete, you go in to win. But you have something more to play for in conference play.”

BYU has not lost to an FCS opponent since the NCAA created Division 1-AA in 1978. The Cougars have not suffered a defeat to a current member of the Big Sky Conference since falling 12-0 to Montana in 1959.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) passes the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In first career start, Mike White helps Jets stun Bengals

Shaq Lawson gave the Jets their first interception of the season and Mike White outdueled Joe Burrow as New York rallied late to pull a 34-31 upset over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals in East Rutherford, N.J.

Lawson deflected a screen pass and caught the carom for the interception with 4:32 to go. Two plays later, White hit Tyler Kroft with a 13-yard, go-head touchdown. White caught the 2-point conversion pass from Jamison Crowder on a trick play and the Jets led 34-31 with 3:50 left.

Cincinnati (5-3) punted from its own 40 with 2:19 remaining and never got the ball back after a third-down personal foul penalty extended the Jets’ last possession.

The Jets (2-5) snapped a two-game skid and won for the first time in the last four meetings against Cincinnati.

White, in his first NFL start, completed 37 of 45 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Michael Carter added 172 yards from scrimmage on 24 total touches with a touchdown.

Burrow completed 21 of 34 for 259 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He’s the only QB in the NFL to throw multiple touchdowns in every game this season. Joe Mixon scored twice and gained 91 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches. Tee Higgins led all receivers with 97 yards on four catches.

The Bengals snapped a 17-17 tie late in the third quarter when Burrow found Mixon with an 8-yard touchdown pass out of the backfield. Matt Ammendola answered for the Jets with a 24-yard field goal that trimmed the deficit to 24-20 with 12:31 remaining.

Cincinnati extended the lead to 31-20 with 7:29 left after Burrow’s 10-yard touchdown to Boyd.

But the Jets scored 14 points in less than a minute to take the late lead. White found Ty Johnson for a 19-yard touchdown — the 2-point conversion failed — with 4:36 left.

Then Lawson picked off Burrow and the Jets quickly followed up with the go-ahead score.

The Jets throttled the Bengals’ offense for most of the first half, but still trailed 17-14 at the break. New York opened the game with a sharp scoring drive, and took a 7-0 lead on Carter’s 8-yard run. It was the first points in the first quarter all season for the Jets.

But three first-half turnovers led to 10 Cincinnati points and the lost lead. Germaine Pratt’s interception set up Mixon’s 1-yard TD run to tie it 7-7 on the first play of the second quarter.

The Bengals took a 14-7 lead when Burrow flipped a 2-yard touchdown to rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase. After Vonn Bell’s fumble recovery stopped another Jets’ drive, Evan McPherson hit a 21-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead with 1:54 left in the half.

New York, which outgained Cincinnati 261-119 in the first half, pulled to within 17-14 with 19 seconds left after White found Braxton Berrios with an 8-yard scoring pass.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9)

 throws a pass in the third quarter of the NFL Week 7 game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. The Bengals moved into the top of the AFC North with a 41-17 win over the Ravens.

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Bengals aiming for third straight win on road vs. Jets

Zac Taylor can remember when his team went winless in 15 straight road games. Now the Bengals will seek a third road win in as many weeks on Sunday when they face the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

Cincinnati (5-2) is currently the top-seeded team in the AFC after consecutive road wins at Detroit and division rival Baltimore in an impressive 41-17 rout last weekend. The Bengals can keep their perch another week by taking care of the slumping Jets (1-5).

“We get an opportunity to play three straight road games and get three straight wins out of the deal,” Taylor said Wednesday. “To have a chance to really flip the script … That’s a big deal for us.”

Also big for the Bengals is the continued development of second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, dynamite rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and a defense improved by a slew of offseason acquisitions. Cincinnati ranks fifth in the NFL in scoring defense (allowing 18.3 points per game), while the league is beginning to marvel at the chemistry Burrow and Chase have carried over from their playing days at LSU.

Chase, the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, exploded for a Bengals’ rookie record of 201 receiving yards against the Ravens. He’s averaging 21.5 yards per reception this season and ranks second in the NFL with 754 receiving yards — the most ever for a player in their first seven career games.

Burrow has been sharp as well, throwing for 1,956 yards and 17 touchdowns in his return from a 2020 knee injury. Add in running back Joe Mixon (539 rushing yards) and that improved defense, and it appears the Bengals will remain in the hunt for the AFC North title.

Burrow said the Bengals’ progress is nice, but it doesn’t mean anything yet.

“We’re not satisfied with where we are,” said Burrow, who comes in off a career-high 416 passing yards last week. “The sky’s the limit for us. But if we go 0-10 the rest of the way, no one is going to care we beat Baltimore in Week 7.”

Maintaining a consistent focus could be a challenge this week. The Jets have had few highlights in six games and will be dealing with a quarterback change this week.

Rookie first-round pick Zach Wilson is expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to a knee injury. Mike White, a 26-year-old former fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, will make his first NFL start after throwing for 202 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in a 54-13 loss last week at New England.

New York traded for veteran Joe Flacco this week, but Flacco isn’t expected to join the team until Friday. Head coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday that White would start.

“We have a lot of faith in Mike,” Saleh said. “He’s earned the right to go out there and play on Sunday and show what he’s capable of.”

It’s the latest apparent setback for the Jets in what is already a season filled with them. New York ranks last in the NFL in offense with just 13.3 points per game and has been outscored 44-0 in first quarters this season.

The Jets are minus-8 in turnover ratio, 30th in the league, and have yet to create a single interception this season.

Saleh said his team will keep plugging away, and he sees an example of how quickly it can turn around on Sunday with the Bengals.

“They are the epitome of what a lot of teams strive to be,” Saleh said. “They’ve done a really nice job of building it.”

The Bengals will enter in good health with only center Trey Hopkins (knee) and backup RB Chris Evans (hamstring) missing practice on Wednesday.

The Jets were without quarterbacks Wilson and Flacco, running back Tevin Coleman (hamstring), defensive lineman Bryce Huff (back), tight end Trevon Wesco (knee) and linebacker Quincy Williams (concussion).

–Field Level Media