PITTSBURGH _ For the first time in nine years the Bengals had a different punter set for a game when all-time franchise leader Kevin Huber was made inactive to set the stage for Drue Chrisman's NFL debut Sunday at Acrisure Stadium against the Steelers.
The move, ending Huber's skein of 138 straight games dating back to the 2014 opener, had been on the table for weeks as special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons talked through the struggles with the holder of every major Bengals punting record while suiting up Chrisman for pregame warmups. After beating out Chrisman in a training camp derby, Huber, 37, also the Bengals all-time games leader with 216 games played, has struggled with the NFL's lowest net average.
Also not active was running back/kick returner Chris Evans (knee), which meant running back Trayveon Williams was active for the second time this season and may look at being back there for his first regular-season kick return of his career after taking some in various preseasons.
Sunday's inactive list indicated that the Bengals cornerbacks were healthier Sunday than at Friday's practice, where starter Eli Apple (calf) and backup Tre Flowers (hamstring) were limited. They don't have rookie safety Dax Hill (shoulder), who played just three snaps two weeks ago before getting hurt against Carolina. When the cornerbacks went down with a rash of injuries three weeks ago in Cleveland, Hill played a career-high 20 snaps.
With nose tackle D.J. Reader activated and Chrisman and wide receiver Trenton Irwin elevated from the practice squad, the Bengals inactivated seven players, among them wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (hip) and backup nose tackle Josh Tupou (calf). Offensive linemen Jackson Carman and D'Ante Smith were inactive, as they have been most of the season.
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow came in 166 yards shy of becoming the third fastest to 10,000 career passing yards in his 36th game, trying Kurt Warner ... After his last time out when he logged a season-high 152 yards running back Joe Mixon comes in 273 yards shy of passing Pete Johnson into fourth on the club's all-time list behind Corey Dillon, James Brooks and Rudi Johnson. ...