Quick hits: Bengals lose numbers game

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Cornerback William Jackson (in white) played well Sunday as the Bengals held Antonio Brown to four catches for 65 yards.

PITTSBURGH - After seeing the Bengals' record against the Steelers drop to 3-11 in the seven seasons of the Green-Dalton Era, A.J. Green could only call it like he saw it.

"They've got our numbers. They've just beat us," Green said after Sunday's latest loss, an offensively-challenged 29-14 verdict at Heinz Field.

The big numbers were 19 and 0. As in they managed just 19 yards in the game's final 37:48 after they tied the game at 14 on what should have been a momentum-turning TD on quarterback Andy Dalton's fourth-down flip to tight end Tyler Kroft from the Steelers 1. As in Green managed no catches in the game's final 46 minutes and rookie running back Joe Mixon had no carries in that final 37:48.

Mixon had 48 yards on seven carries in his best game as a pro. His 25-yarder set up the first TD and his 17-yarder set up the second. That one got them to the Steelers 10. Then he carried on the next play for no gain. Then it went black.

"In the first half we ran the ball pretty well. In the second half we didn't do all that much," said Green, whose three catches for 41 yards came in the game's first 14 minutes.

Green said the Steelers do what they do against him. No surprises. "Double cover me. Trail me … They play zone …  Cover Two … When we were running it (well) they were playing (more) Cover One and man … They were taking the guy out of the box because they had to (stop the run)."

Numbers? It's the fewest catches he's had in a full game since, you guessed it, two in last year's game at Heinz.

Numbers? Their 179 yards were their fewest since the 165 in quarterback Andy Dalton's infamous 2.0 passer rating game in a 24-3 loss to Cleveland. He was almost that bad in Sunday's second half he had a 16 on six of 12 passing with two picks.

"We could not get anything going. We couldn't get any momentum," Dalton said. "It took us a while to get a first down and that hurt us. They played well. They were stopping us. At the end of the day we were not executing well enough. We did not make that one big play and that hurt us."

-If you're wondering why Mixon didn't run the ball after the Bengals' last TD drive, so is he. It was tough for Mixon to watch Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell rip off 134 yards on 35 carries because Mixon has high regard for him.

"To me personally, I felt l like I could do way more than he did," Mixon said. "I only had seven carries. I can't be showcasing anything if I don't get the ball. There's nothing else you can say."

After that second TD, the Bengals got the ball back with 1:50 left in the first half and three timeouts left and went with third-down back Giovani Bernard in an ugly three-and-out sequence that began when Bernard got blown up on a dump pass over the middle. Then, like he started the game, Jeremy Hill started the second half, and got one carry for a yard before they went back to Bernard. Then Mixon came back for the third series of the second half.

"It's frustrating," Mixon said. "I felt like Bell gets the ball 35 times. I get it seven times in the first half and don't touch the ball again.  Jeremy only got one touch the second half. It's frustrating to us running backs. We're in the room and we feel like we're part of the offense. If it worked in the first half why not do it in the second half?"

-Tough day for the NFL's No. 2 defense in allowing 16.6 points and 262.8 yards per game, not to mention just 160 yards per in the air. On Sunday it was 29, 420, 268.

Not only that, the Bengals saw their NFL-best steak of 34 straight games with a sack end. It was unanimous why.

"Oh wow," Dunlap said when he heard the streak is over.  

"They gave it to Le'Veon 40 times. Quick throws, max protect him, change it up. They did what they had to do and we didn't. We didn't get in position to have those opportunities that much."

Dunlap was working against backup right tackle Chris Hubbard, playing for the injured Marcus Gilbert, Dunlap's college teammate.

"I had a couple of plays on him," Dunlap said. "He didn't have to do too much today because they managed the game. They didn't put him in difficult positions."

Here was a rarity for the defense. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict wasn't in double-digit tackles The press box stats had him for four. The leaders were linebackers Vincent Rey and Nick Vigil and nose tackle Pat Sims with eight.

 

Cincinnati Bengals travel to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 7 of the regular season.

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