Oct 23, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals head to Pittsburgh looking to keep pace in AFC North

The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers have watched their seasons go in opposite directions after the Steelers won their Week 1 meeting.

The Bengals are out to avenge that loss and keep pace in the AFC North Division standings when they visit Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Joe Burrow was sacked seven times and threw four interceptions when the Bengals (5-4) fell to the Steelers 23-20 in overtime on Sept. 11. Pittsburgh managed to spoil host Cincinnati’s first game since reaching Super Bowl LVI the previous winter.

The Bengals went on to start 0-2 but have gone 5-2 since. They’re one game behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North race with seven games to go. The Bengals, who lost to the Ravens on Oct. 8, close the regular season by hosting Baltimore.

“That’s always the goal. That’s right there for us,” Burrow said. “We are a game out of first place. We have to go and get this one and then we will take it from there.”

In their most recent game before their Week 10 bye, the Bengals trounced the Carolina Panthers 42-21. Joe Mixon scored a career-high five touchdowns, rushing for a career-best four scores and a season-high 153 yards on 22 carries and catching four passes, including a 12-yard touchdown, for 58 yards.

“We ran the ball great two weeks ago now, but that’s just one game,” Burrow said. “So we got to build on that. The coaching staff is really excited about the plan, so am I and Joe’s looking to build on that momentum from that week.”

Burrow stands at 9,834 career passing yards through 35 regular-season games and can become the fourth-fastest in NFL history to reach 10,000 if he throws for at least 166 Sunday.

The Steelers (3-6) started Mitch Trubisky at quarterback in Week 1, but amid a four-game losing streak after that season opener they moved on to first-round selection Kenny Pickett. The rookie had one of his best performances of the season in last week’s 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints by completing 18 of 30 passes for 199 yards and rushing for 51 yards and a touchdown.

So far Pickett is completing 66.7 percent of his passes but has just two touchdowns against eight interceptions. He said that red-zone offense is one particular area where he must improve.

“We’re not where we need to be,” Pickett said, per the team website. “Obviously, there’s less grass, so it’s tighter windows, the timing, everything is faster. I’ve got to meet the guys at certain spots with the ball and they’ve got to get there on time. The game changes when you get down there. The calls change. The system changes. There are definitely things we need to get better at.”

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick did not practice Wednesday after having an appendectomy last Saturday. Coincidentally, Burrow was still recovering from an August appendectomy when he faced Pittsburgh in Week 1.

Asked if he had any advice for Fitzpatrick during his recovery, Burrow quipped, “Maybe wait just an extra week.”

Pittsburgh was also without cornerback Akhello Witherspoon (hamstring), linebacker Marcus Allen (illness), linebacker Devin Bush (knee), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (knee) and offensive linemen Kevin Doston (hip) and Trent Scott (back) Wednesday. But star edge rusher T.J. Watt (pectoral) and starting running back Najee Harris (knee) were full participants.

Cincinnati would like to have star receiver Ja’Marr Chase back this week from a hip injury, but he did not practice Wednesday, nor did safety Dax Hill (shoulder) or defensive tackle Josh Tupou (calf). Coach Zac Taylor said Tupou won’t play this week.

Running back Chris Evans (knee) and cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) were limited participants in practice while corner Mike Hilton (finger) practiced in full.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (22) walks off the field after the victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals place CB Chidobe Awuzie (knee) on IR

The Cincinnati Bengals officially placed cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on injured reserve Saturday with a torn ACL sustained in Monday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns.

An MRI confirmed the injury to Awuzie’s right knee. He is expected to have season-ending surgery later this month, once the swelling subsides.

Awuzie sustained the non-contact injury in the second quarter while defending a pass to Browns wideout Amari Cooper.

The 27-year-old veteran said he didn’t realize the extent of his injury when he came off the field and went to the medical tent.

“With the adrenaline going, you can’t really tell what’s what at times,” Awuzie said Thursday, per the Dayton Daily News. “Your emotions, your energy is so high and then when they told me it’s a torn ACL and whatever else, I got really emotional.”

Awuzie is in his second season with the Bengals after signing a three-year deal worth $21.75 million with the club in March 2021. He has started all 22 games he has played in Cincinnati.

Awuzie has six interceptions, 56 passes defensed and three forced fumbles in 71 games (64 starts) for the Dallas Cowboys (2017-20) and Bengals. The Cowboys selected him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Bengals (4-4) made a few other moves Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game against the visiting Carolina Panthers (2-6).

Cincinnati signed defensive tackle Domenique Davis off the practice squad and elevated cornerback Allan George and wide receiver Trenton Irwin to the active roster for the Week 9 contest.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) rushes against New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye (6) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase lead Bengals’ rally past Saints

Joe Burrow threw three touchdown passes as the visiting Cincinnati Bengals came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the New Orleans Saints 30-26 on Sunday afternoon.

Burrow completed 28 of 37 passes for 300 yards and connected with Ja’Marr Chase for two touchdowns in the second half as the Bengals (3-3) took the lead for the first time with 1:57 remaining.

Chase, a native of New Orleans, finished with seven catches for 132 yards.

Former Bengal Andy Dalton, making his third consecutive start in place of the injured Jameis Winston, passed for 162 yards and a touchdown for the Saints (2-4).

On the first possession of the second half, Wil Lutz kicked the third of his four field goals, a 37-yarder that gave New Orleans a 23-14 lead.

Burrow’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Chase trimmed the lead to 23-21 late in the third quarter.

Lutz kicked a 31-yard field goal and Evan McPherson answered with one from 52 yards that left the Saints with a 26-24 lead with 3:41 left.

On the first play after a New Orleans punt, Burrow and Chase connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass.

Dalton then brought the Saints to the Cincinnati 41, but they turned the ball over on downs.

In the first quarter, the Bengals’ Trent Taylor fumbled a punt that Adam Trautman recovered for the Saints at their 32. Three plays later, Dalton threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith for an early 7-0 lead.

Burrow’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon on third-and-goal to tie the score at the end of the first quarter.

Undrafted rookie Rashid Shaheed ran 44 yards for a touchdown on his first touch in the NFL to give the Saints a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Lutz’s 35-yard field goal widened the lead to 17-7.

Burrow scrambled for a 19-yard touchdown run on third and 8 to trim the lead to 17-14.

Lutz added a 30-yard field goal that gave New Orleans a 20-14 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Tight end O.J. Howard eyes in a pass on the opening day of the Buffalo Bills training camp at St. John Fisher University in Rochester Sunday, July 24, 2022.

Sd 072422 Bills Camp 26 Spts

Report: Ex-Bills TE O.J. Howard visits Bengals

Tight end O.J. Howard is visiting the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday, one day after being cut by the Buffalo Bills.

NFL Network reported that the former first-round pick is expected to sign, pending the results of a physical exam.

Howard’s release was a surprise, as he signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal when he joined the Bills on March 16.

In Cincinnati, he will compete for playing time behind projected starter Hayden Hurst. Drew Sample and Mitchell Wilcox are the other TEs on the roster.

Howard was a first-round pick (19th overall) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 after a breakout season with Alabama.

His impact on the Buccaneers was minimized by injuries, including a torn Achilles and high ankle sprain. He caught 14 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown last season.

In five NFL seasons and 59 total games (46 starts), Howard has 119 receptions for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media