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Scouting Report: Bengals, Week 13

Posted Dec 1, 2017

Cincinnati stingy in the red zone.

A look at what the Steelers will be up against on Monday night at the Cincinnati Bengals:

RED MEANS STOP: Cincinnati boasts the NFL’s No. 1 red zone defense. The Bengals have allowed opponents to score 15 touchdowns on 38 red zone opportunities (39.5 percent). The Steelers went 1-for-6 (17 percent) in the red zone against the Bengals in their 29-14 victory over Cincinnati on Oct. 22 at Heinz Field and will arrive at Paul Brown Stadium ranked 28th in the NFL in red zone offense (20-for-43, 46.5 percent).

PLAYING KEEP-AWAY: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hasn’t thrown an interception in 140 consecutive attempts. Dalton last threw an interception on Oct. 22 in the third quarter against the Steelers. In the five games that have followed he’s thrown for 1,012 yards and nine touchdowns and compiled a passer rating of 104.9. Dalton had streaks of 147 and 165 passes without being picked off last season. Two of Dalton’s throws in last Sunday’s 30-16 victory over Cleveland could have been intercepted but were dropped.

CUP OF JOE: Rookie running back Joe Mixon had 114 yards and a touchdown and averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 23 attempts against the Browns. Mixon’s first 100-yard game spearheaded a season-high 152-yard output on the ground by the Bengals against what had been the NFL’s No. 6 run defense. Cincinnati entered the Cleveland game last in the NFL in rushing at 68.0 yards per game. Mixon also had 51 yards on three receptions against Cleveland, including a 36-yard gain on a screen pass (fellow running back Giovani Bernard had a 15-yard gain on a screen). Mixon has all four of the Bengals’ rushing touchdowns this season.

EDGE-RUSHING ROOKIE: Bengals outside linebacker Carl Lawson doesn’t start, but he leads Cincinnati with seven sacks (the most among NFL rookies tis season).

GREEN MEANS GO: Wide receiver A.J. Green and Dalton have hooked up on three passes of 50 or more yards this season (50, 77 and 70). Since entering the NFL together in 2011, the pair has connected on more such receptions (21) than any other quarterback-wide receiver duo in the NFL in that span.

Green has averaged 6.2 catches and 83.6 yards and has scored seven touchdowns in 13 career games against the Steelers.

Dalton has15 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions and a 75.6 passer rating in 13 career games against the Steelers. He’s averaged 207.5 yards passing in those games.

SPECIAL EDITION: Rookie defensive end Jordan Willis blocked a punt on Oct. 29 against Indianapolis. Cornerback Adam Jones took a punt back 55 yards for a touchdown last Sunday against Cleveland but the return was negated by a penalty. Jones has five career touchdowns on punt returns and has averaged 21.8 yards on six punt returns this season. Kicker Randy Bulloch had a season-long 49-yard field goal last Sunday against the Browns.

TIGER STRIPS: The Bengals haven’t allowed 30 points in 21 consecutive games (their season-high total against this season is 29 against the Steelers). Cincinnati is 10th in the NFL in scoring defense (19.5 points per game) … Cincinnati didn’t have a sack on Oct. 22 at Pittsburgh, which snapped the Bengals’ 34-game streak dating back to Week Four in 2015 … The Bengals ran their last 21 snaps of the first half last Sunday from Cleveland territory but came away with three field goals to show for it … Cincinnati scored on its first five possessions against Cleveland (one touchdown and three field goals in the first half and a touchdown to open the second half).

STAT THAT MATTERS: Cincinnati is 76-18-1 in games with a plus-differential in turnovers under head coach Marvin Lewis in the regular season. The Bengals are 18-67-2 with a minus-differential and 29-24 when the turnover differential is even in Lewis’ tenure.

HE SAID IT: “It’s a rivalry. That’s just the way the game is when you have two teams that really don’t like each other on the field. There are going to be little things that happen off the field, too, it kinda comes with it. As long as we win the game, that’s all that matters to me.” _ Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell on Steelers-Bengals.