RB Joe Mixon - Cincinnati Bengals
|6-1, 228||Born: 7-24-1996||College: Oklahoma||Drafted: Round 2, pick 2017|
2019 Week 1 vs SEA (6 / 10 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 7 / 0 rec)
The Bengals had a screen setup well for Mixon but Jadeveon Clowney was able to leap and tip the pass away. Dalton went right back to the same play the next down but Seattle was all over it, dropping Mixon for a 3-yard loss. There was no room to run for Mixon early. His first quarter carries went for 1, -1, 3, and 2 yards. He looked dangerous in the open field on a 10-yard reception on a swing route. After the quiet first half, Mixon rolled his ankle on the third play of the second half and never returned. He was spotted on the sideline late in the game walking gingerly on the an-kle. Early reports indicate the injury looks more mild than originally feared and Mixon may even be available for Week 2.
2019 Week 2 vs SF (11 / 17 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 10 / 0 rec)
Mixon barely practiced in the week leading up to the game due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1. He showed no ill effects from the injury, looking as quick and explosive as usual. Mixon had to work for every yard. Even when he made the first man miss, he was still picking up minimal gains. Mixon had a couple impressive runs down near the goal line in the first quarter to pick up positive yards. On 2nd-and-4 from the 5-yard line, he ran through an arm tackle in the backfield, juked a defender with a nice cut back to the inside and ran for a 3-yard gain. He powered through a defender to pick up a first down just short of the goal line on the next play. He was stuffed in the backfield for no gain on 1st-and-goal and missed out on a potential score when the Bengals scored on a 2nd-down play action pass. The few times a hole actually opened up and Mixon was able to break off a solid run, the offensive line was called for holding. He burst through the right side of the line for a 12-yard pickup that was called back due to a hold by the left tackle. He also had an 11-yard reception called back due to a hold. Mixon was visibly frustrated with some of the flags and the body language wasn't great at times. His lone positive run that wasn't called back was a 9-yard burst up the middle when the Bengals were backed up near their own end zone. Mixon played just 54% of the snaps but his usage was pretty typical until the game got out of hand. There was no reason for the Bengals to put him out there on a tender ankle in the fourth quarter while trailing by 30+ points.
2019 Week 3 vs BUF (15 / 61 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 34 / 1 rec)
Mixon finally got it going a little bit against Buffalo in the second half. He had a big hole to run through on an 11-yard gain up the middle early but only touched it four times total in the first half. He made a sweet run for 11 yards, using a stutter step to freeze a defender in the backfield and then beating him around the corner. Mixon was in for a first-and-goal play from the 1-yard line. Dalton faked it to him on the read option and kept it himself for the short rushing touchdown. Mixon took a pitch in the red zone around the corner for a 12-yard gain, getting hit just shy of the goal line. The next play, Dalton again faked the handoff to Mixon on play action. Mixon then veered outside after the fake and was wide open for a one-yard touchdown reception. Mixon made a 33-yard catch and run on a screen pass to set up a go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals offense finally got on track in the second half when Mixon got going. It may provide a blueprint for the offense going forward.
2019 Week 4 vs PIT (15 / 62 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 1 / 0 rec)
Mixon played a season-high 61% of the snaps despite the Bengals trailing most of the game. His usage was actually encouraging, with 15 carries and 5 targets. He simply wasn't able to get anything going as a receiver and didn't get any goal line opportunities. The huge number of sacks made it impossible for Mixon to really get rolling. For example, he had four touches on the opening drive. The Bengals got into Pittsburgh territory and after a solid five-yard run by Mixon on first down, Dalton was sacked for a nine-yard loss and the drive promptly stalled out. It was that kind of day for Mixon and the Bengals offense. Mixon's biggest highlight came on a beautiful blitz pickup where he demolished the blitzing defensive back to allow Dalton time to complete it for a nice gain to John Ross.
2019 Week 5 vs ARI (19 / 93 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec)
It was a strong performance from Mixon, who racked up 109 yards on 20 touches. Mixon and the running game came out on fire. On the opening drive, he ripped off runs of 9, 3, 13, 5, 18, and 9 on consecutive carries to get the team into the red zone. With 1st-and-goal at the 8, Mixon received back-to-back carries. After a four yard gain, he was dropped for a loss on the second carry and the Bengals ended up having to settle for a field goal. It looked like Mixon might be on his way to a big game but the Arizona defense tightened up considerably. After the opening drive, Mixon carried five times in the remainder of the first half for a total of three yards. He opened the second half with a 15-yard gain up the middle, bursting through the middle of the line and lowering his pads to finish the run with physicality. He was visibly frustrated when a strong run for 7 yards early in the fourth quarter was called back due to an illegal block above the waist. Mixon has had a lot of solid gains wiped out by offensive line penalties this season. He showed nice vision on a 16-yard reception on a screen to start the Bengals first touchdown drive late but soon gave way to Giovani Bernard as Cincinnati went to the hurrays-up offense down the stretch.
2019 Week 6 vs BAL (8 / 10 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 29 / 0 rec)
With the Bengals falling into an early hole, Mixon played just 48% of the snaps. There was no room to run and the Bengals quickly gave up on trying. Mixon's long run of the day went for just three yards. He did his best work as a pass catcher. He showed great body control to pirouette and make the grab on a short pass and then somehow got through a small gap between a trio of Ravens defenders to turn what should have been a short gain into a 23-yard catch.
2019 Week 7 vs JAX (10 / 2 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 1 rec)
Mixon lined up in the slot with speedy linebacker Myles Jack matched up against him and was able to beat him to the outside for a 2-yard touchdown catch. That was about it for highlights on the day. Mixon averaged 1.7 yards after contact on his 10 runs and still only gained 2 total rushing yards on the day. That means, on average, he was hit 1.5 yards behind the line of scrimmage on his carries. There's simply no room to run and the Bengals running game looks completely broken. The Bengals are also tipping their hand with their play calling and by subbing in Giovani Bernard so often. A Jacksonville defender said after the game that when Bernard was in, they assumed it would be a pass and when Mixon was in, they assumed it would be a run. It is hard to understand why Mixon played just 54% of the snaps despite the Bengals taking a lead into the fourth quarter. With a slew of injuries on the offensive line, it is hard to see the situation for Mixon getting much better any time soon.
2019 Week 8 vs LAR (17 / 66 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 11 / 1 rec)
Mixon only averaged 3.9 yards per carry but even that was an improvement compared to recent performances. Despite playing from behind, the Bengals were also able to get Mixon a season-high 21 touches. He had some success in the first half with a number of chunk gains that have been rare for the Bengals offense this season. He found some room off of left tackle on a 13-yard run the second play of the game. On a second-quarter touchdown drive, Mixon touched it seven times and gashed the Rams right up the middle for runs of 11 and 12 yards. He converted with a tough run up the middle on a fourth down to keep the drive alive and eventually finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown catch on a pretty play design that the Bengals used successfully against Buffalo. The Bengals motioned a receiver across, causing the defense to vacate the right side of the field and leaving Mixon all alone for an easy catch. After a strong first half with no negative carries and a few chunk Gaines, the second half Bengals rushing offense reverted to form. Mixon lost yards on two of first first three carries out of halftime and didn't gain more than four yards on any run.
2019 Week 10 vs BAL (30 / 114 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 37 / 0 rec)
Mixon played a season-high 76% of the snaps. He hadn't played more than 63% of the snaps in any game this season. The Bengals were obviously focused on riding Mixon to try to keep the pressure off of their rookie quarterback in his first start. The blazing start by the Ravens offense that put the Bengals into a huge hole early didn't change the game plan. Mixon made a beautiful move after catching a short dump off, beating the first defender to the outside and then accelerating down the sideline for a 23-yard gain. He picked up big chunks of yardage on the ground throughout the game, hitting the hole fast and lowering his pads to finish runs with power. He hurdled a defender on a 3rd-and-2 to get the Bengals into the red zone and setup the first offensive touchdown. The Bengals used a much larger variety of run plays coming out of the bye, instead of relying almost exclusively on zone concepts. It opened up some holes for Mixon, who easily had his best game of the season.
2019 Week 11 vs OAK (15 / 86 / 1 rush, 3 / 1 / 17 / 0 rec)
Mixon started the game off hot. On the first offensive play, he caught a short swing pass and bounced off a defender near the line of scrimmage and then stayed in bounds down the sideline for a 17-yard pickup. His second touch, he took a pitch and dashed through a small crease on a 30-yard run. Later in the first quarter, he had one of the more impressive 3-yard touchdown runs of the season. He took a pitch left and a slew of Raiders were there to drop him for a loss but he spun out of a tackle and completely reversed field, weaving his way back to get into the end zone. The impressive run was the Bengals first rushing touchdown of the season by anyone other than Andy Dalton. After the first quarter, it was tougher sledding to Mixon. He had a couple nice gains, including a 15-yard rush on a pitch off of right tackle. However, the Raiders shut down the run for the most part and the Bengals poor pass blocking made it impossible to sustain drives.
2019 Week 12 vs PIT (18 / 79 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Mixon wasn't able to get anything going in the first half. His best run went for four yards and he was stacked up right near the line on each of his other runs. He finally got things going early in the second half with a beautiful 9-yard gain on what should have gone for negative yardage. He took the toss right, was completely bottled up and reversed field all the way back across the formation. He lowered his shoulder and punished a Steelers defensive back for a couple extra yards at the end of the play. He ran over another Steelers defensive back on the next play. Mixon took the handoff up the middle and finally had some space. He accelerated and plowed over a defender to add a few yards at the end of the 14-yard run. Mixon squeezed through a small hole and weaved his way for a gain of 11 yards. The next play, he made another spectacular run to turn nothing into something. He was dead to rights in the backfield and made J.J. Watt miss with a spin and then a jump cut to beat the second defender to get free and pick up nine yards.
2019 Week 13 vs NYJ (19 / 44 / 1 rush, 4 / 4 / 26 / 0 rec)
Mixon played a season-high 79% of the snaps and brought a lot of energy despite not putting up big numbers. He received a pair of red zone targets early in the second quarter, catching the first for a short gain and then picking up 8 yards on the next. Mixon had a nifty 5-yard touchdown run, jump cutting right to get into the hole and then quickly cutting back to his left to squeeze through and into the end zone. Mixon's best run of the day didn't count. He took a pitch right and made two defenders miss with quick cuts, picking up 31 yards but it was called back due to an illegal block penalty against Auden Tate. Mixon showed incredible balance on a 9-yard reception, staying on his feet and tip-toeing down the sideline despite taking a shot near the line of scrimmage. He had some success running the ball in the fourth quarter with the Bengals nursing a big lead for the first time all season.
2019 Week 14 vs CLE (23 / 146 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 40 / 0 rec)
Mixon had 26 touches despite playing just 44 snaps (59%) and had his best game of the season. His first carry of the game, he was able to bounce it outside and accelerated down the sideline for a 26-yard gain. He ran over a defender near the end of the run. Mixon caught an 8-yard pass after a nice hesitation move, taking the ball down to the Cleveland 6-yard line. Mixon got to the outside again on his second carry, taking a pitch for 12 yards. He has been playing with an edge in recent weeks that has helped spark the offense, but Mixon went too far and was hit with a 15-yard penalty in the first quarter when he got into the face of a defender and gave him a little head butt. The mistake put the Bengals into a 3rd-and-long and Andy Dalton promptly threw a pick six. Mixon sat out the next series. He came back in and caught a 24-yard pass after a play action fake that left him wide open along the left sideline. The Bengals went with a spread, shotgun set on 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Mixon took the hand off and walked into the end zone through a big hole up the middle. Mixon showed nice patience to allow his blockers time to get outside on an 8-yard catch and run on a screen pass. Mixon wasn't able to come up with the deep pass on a wheel route 30 yards downfield. It looked like he might have been interfered with but he didn't get the flag. Mixon caught a swing pass, made the first defender miss and picked up nine yards. He was excellent as a receiver in this ballgame. Mixon got to the edge to pick up 7 yards and was knocked out of bounds just a couple yards short of the end zone and inches from the line to gain for a first down. It looked like he got a bad spot. Two plays later on 4th-and-1 he dove low to pick up the first down at the 2-yard line. Mixon had a couple big runs to get the Bengals to a 1st-and-goal but was stuffed twice on carries inside the ten yard line.
2019 Week 15 vs NE (25 / 136 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)
The lone offensive bright spot for the Bengals was Mixon, who was outstanding. In fact, Mixon played so well against the Patriots that he had Bill Belichick saying he was probably the best back in the league in his postgame press conference. The Bengals came out committed to getting the run game going, with the first five plays of the game each run plays to Mixon. The fifth was an incredible individual effort by Mixon that went for 29 yards. There was nowhere to go and he was hemmed in behind the line of scrimmage before trying to cut back the other direction, then reversing field again to elude a pair of defenders, and running through an arm tackle to burst into the second level. He was able to rip off chunks of yardage throughout the first three quarters, finding success both up the middle and on toss plays to the outside. His impressive combination of power, elusiveness, and speed was on display throughout the game. Mixon had over 150 yards from scrimmage through three quarters but only touched it once in the fourth quarter due to the Bengals falling behind by multiple scores.
2019 Week 16 vs MIA (21 / 50 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)
News broke about an hour before kickoff that Mixon had been dealing with a stomach bug and would be at less than 100% for the game. He looked like he wasn't quite himself in this one as the energy and burst was a bit lacking. He also seemed to be winded at times and saw a major decrease in his share of the snaps. In fact, he played 12 fewer snaps than Giovani Bernard and Mixon's 43% share of the offensive snaps was his lowest since Week 1. He was still making the first man miss with some regularity but the explosive plays weren't there. None of Mixon's 21 carries went for more than nine yards. Mixon's biggest play of the day was a 17-yard catch. He lined up out wide and ran a comeback route. He broke a tackle attempt by the safety and got loose down the sideline for the long gain.
2019 Week 17 vs CLE (26 / 162 / 2 rush, 1 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)
Mixon was dominant against the Browns. On the first offensive possession, he broke a spectacular 41-yard run that came entirely due to his effort. There was no room to run up the middle, so he broke it to the outside, juked a defender at the line of scrimmage to get into the secondary, then hurdled a second defender to get loos down the sideline. He had another exceptional run on the second drive of the game, picking up 21 yards on a highlight-reel run that featured a jump cut to get free to the outside and power to break the first tackle attempt. Mixon powered his way in for a 3-yard touchdown on a shotgun handoff on 3rd-and-goal. He got into the end zone easily on a similar play later in the game, scoring his second touchdown from two yards out. Mixon essentially put the game away with another extremely impressive run late. He burst through a small hole and lowered his shoulder to deliver a devastating blow to the safety and ran right over him to get into the secondary for a 28-yard gain. The run just before the two minute warning put the Bengals in position for a game-clinching field goal to secure a two-score lead late.
2018 Week 1 vs IND (17 / 95 / 1 rush, 7 / 5 / 54 / 0 rec)
Mixon was fantastic, both as a runner and pass catcher against the Colts and looks to be well on his way to a breakout season. The Bengals clearly wanted to get him established early, with six of the first seven plays of the game either handoffs or passes to Mixon. He quickly made his presence with a decisive 7-yard run straight up the gut on the first play of the game. He opened the second drive with runs of 4 and 7 yards and then burst for a gain of 21 on a screen pass down the left sideline. He looks noticeably faster and more explosive after slimming down in the offseason. His speed was evident on his long run of the day as well. He outran a Colts linebacker to the edge on an outside run and flew down the sideline for a gain of 21. Mixon's touchdown came from a yard out. The Bengals lined up in a heavy formation with a defensive lineman in at fullback and Mixon leaped over the top to get in. Mixon dominated in terms of usage, with over 90% (22 of 24) of the running back touches on the day. On the game-winning fourth-quarter drive, Mixon was the key, touching the ball on 7-of-10 plays. His seven targets show the Bengals plan to use him heavily as a pass catcher, which makes him an elite fantasy option going forward.
2018 Week 2 vs BAL (21 / 84 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
Mixon ran hard and had a couple highlight runs, including a 21-yard scamper that was one of the game's deciding plays. He started right and found nowhere to run, then reversed all the way back across the field to break loose for the big gain. It allowed the Bengals to milk the clock late and set up a field goal to put Cincinnati up by 8 in the games final minutes. Mixon had a goal line carry from the 1-yard line early, but was dropped for a three-yard loss when he tried to break it outside. Mixon left the game in the first half with a knee injury and was listed as questionable to return, spending much of the second quarter in the locker room. He returned and gutted through a knee injury that was obviously bothering him, as he came up gimpy after a couple runs. After the game, Mixon had surgery to remove a loose body in his knee. The procedure was deemed a success and Mixon is reported to be out for the next 2-4 weeks. The most likely return dates would be either Week 5 against the Dolphins or Week 6 against the Steelers.
2018 Week 5 vs MIA (22 / 93 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 22 / 1 rec)
Mixon showed no ill effects from the knee surgery that kept him out of the last two games. He looked quick and was able to make explosive cuts. Mixon also instantly returned to a massive workload, touching the ball 25 times against Miami despite sharing time with Mark Walton. Mixon was instrumental on the two most important drives of the day for the Bengals. He scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on an 18-yard catch. He lined up in the backfield and ran a route down the seam before breaking to the outside. Under heavy pressure, Dalton lofted it up in Mixon's direction. Mixon was able to come back to the ball and make a leaping catch and then run a couple yards into the end zone. He is one of the few bigger backs in the league who can make wide receiver-like plays like this out of the backfield. On the go-ahead field goal drive late in the fourth quarter, it was almost all Mixon. He had an 11-yard gain on a delayed draw up the middle. The next play, he took a handoff up the middle, found no room to run and bounced it outside with a sharp cut and then accelerated for a 31-yard gain. He showed the change of direction and speed that make him a special talent. He then made a man miss and on an eight yard gain just down to the 2-yard line. In addition to the crucial tangible contributions, Mixon's playmaking and attitude helped get the crowd into the game and build some mo-mentum when things were looking bleak.
2018 Week 6 vs PIT (11 / 64 / 1 rush, 7 / 4 / 20 / 0 rec)
The Bengals didn't have enough possession to truly get Mixon going and only managed 13 rushing attempts total as a team. However, with somewhat limited touches, Mixon's physicality and explosiveness was on full display. He set the tone for the offense early with cutback runs of 13 and 17 yards, both time lowering his pads and delivering blows at the end of the run. He also made some nice plays as a pass catcher singled up against linebacker Vince Williams. He was able to get separation with quick cuts and showed off his excellent hands. Mixon's 4-yard touchdown went right up the middle and put the Bengals ahead late. He lowered his pads and powered through two defenders near the goal line.
2018 Week 7 vs KC (13 / 50 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 1 / 0 rec)
The lackluster numbers don't tell the story of Mixon's performance. He made everything he could of the opportunities he had. Mixon was especially effective on 3rd-and-short, showing patience and incredible lateral agility to hop sideways when a hole finally opened and then lowering his pads to push pas the line to gain. The issue was there was simply nowhere for Mixon to go on too many runs. Mixon also failed to make an impact as a pass catcher. The Bengals rarely split him out wide and the Chiefs always had a man on him when he leaked out of the backfield. Despite the lack of production, Mixon still showed his impressive abilities as a receiver. He made a sweet one-hand grab on the opening drive and then made the first man miss but was still held to a gain of just two yards.
2018 Week 8 vs TB (21 / 123 / 2 rush, 4 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
Mixon played a career-high 85% of the snaps and was the clear centerpiece of the Bengals offense. He put together a monster first half, rushing for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns before the break. While he was certainly running well, he often had big holes to run through. Mixon broke off an 18-yard gain on the very first play of the game but was later dropped for a short loss on 4th-and-1 to end the drive. Mixon walked in for an easy 1-yard touchdown after a long completion to Tyler Boyd setup the Bengals just shy of the goal line. Mixon had three short receptions, all on the same second-quarter drive. The Bengals did a great job of getting Mixon to the outside where he could use his speed to get around the edge. He picked up 13 to get the Bengals into the red zone on a pitch to the sideline. After a couple long completions to Tyler Boyd, Mixon ran for a 12-yard touchdown off of right tackle, galloping through a big hole, splitting a pair of defenders to get into the end zone untouched. He finished off his monster first half with a big-time run on a gain of 43 yards. Mixon weaved through defenders and accelerated to top speed for the big gainer. Like the rest of the offense, Mixon did not do much in the second half. Three of his eight second-half runs went for negative yardage.
2018 Week 10 vs NO (11 / 61 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 24 / 0 rec)
Mixon ran hard and set a tone early. He had gains of 7, 7, 14, and 11 yards on the opening touchdown drive. Mixon was able to use his speed to get to the edge for big gains on a pitch sweep play that the Bengals have used to good success of late. Mixon made a great catch n the left flat and accelerated past a defender for a 17-yard gain. The game script set up awfully for Mixon with the Saints scoring touchdowns on each of their five first-half possessions. With the Bengals trailing big, they were forced to abandon the run. Mixon dominated the running back snaps early. However with the Bengals in the hurry up, two-minute offense from the middle of the second quarter on, Mixon rotated fairly evenly with Giovani Bernard once the team fell behind big.
2018 Week 11 vs BAL (12 / 14 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec)
Mixon never find any room to run. He was dropped for a 4-yard loss on his first carry. Mixon did plow on for a 1-yard touchdown and had some success as a pass catcher. He had a 21-yard catch and run to get inside the 5-yard line and setup a touchdown. The return of Giovani Bernard did eat into some of Mixon's work as a receiver though, as Mixon saw just three targets.
2018 Week 12 vs CLE (14 / 89 / 0 rush, 7 / 7 / 66 / 0 rec)
Despite the Bengals falling into a huge hole early, the team stuck with Mixon over Bernard, a testament to his ability to make an impact as a receiver. Despite the demoralizing game, Mixon was able to provide an emotional spark with his spirited play. Trailing 28-0, Mixon broke off an impressive 28-yard run where he made a man miss in the hole, hurdled an attempted ankle tackle and weaved his way deep into Browns territory to set up a touchdown. Mixon showed well as a receiver again, finishing second on the team in yards. His soft hands, quick feet, and powerful running style make him a mismatch in space. Mixon deserves an assist for Driskel's short rushing touchdown. Driskel ran a draw and Mixon came in strong behind him, pushing and then dragging him into the end zone.
2018 Week 13 vs DEN (12 / 82 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
Mixon was fantastic and it was a travesty he didn't get more touches and playing time. Part of the issue was how many times penalties put the offense in impossible downs and distances. However, the Bengals coaching staff often put themselves in those spots by trying to pass on early downs when they should have just been riding Mixon. Mixon looked like he was on his way to a big game when he dominated the opening drive, catching a short pass and rushing four times for 40 yards. He ripped off back-to-back gains of 7 and 8 yards on the first two offensive plays. A few plays later, he burst through the line, made a man miss and weaved his way for a 23-yard gain. Mixon had one of the few highlights plays for the Bengals offense on a 9-yard catch and run to pick up a first down. He caught the ball short near the right sideline, made the first man miss and then powered through another tackle attempt to pick up the first down on a play where it looked like he had no chance. Even though the game was close nearly the whole way, Mixon played just 57% of the offensive snaps.
2018 Week 14 vs LAC (26 / 111 / 1 rush, 6 / 5 / 27 / 0 rec)
After facing criticism in recent weeks for not getting Mixon enough touches, the Bengals coaching staff fully committed to a Mixon-centric game plan. He set career highs in carries (26) and touches (31). From the opening drive, it was all Mixon. He burst through the middle for an 18-yard gain on his first carry of the day. A couple plays later, he took a swing pass for an 11-yard gain. The Bengals again fell behind early, trailing 14-3 early. Unlike past weeks, they didn't abandon the run and kept feeding Mixon. The second drive again featured Mixon almost exclusively and he touched the ball 10 times on the Bengals first 12 plays. He showed elite patience and burst taking back-to-back carries for nine yards. Mixon also showed well as a receiver. Aside from a pass that was batted down at the line, he caught all of his targets and led the team in receptions. Mixon had a goal line carry on an early 2nd-and-goal and dove forward just shy of the goal line. The Bengals relied heavily on Mixon to the end. He touched the ball eight times on a late 79-yard touchdown drive. Mixon capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run up the middle.
2018 Week 15 vs OAK (27 / 129 / 2 rush, 4 / 2 / 1 / 0 rec)
Mixon got off to a bit of a slow start on the ground but the Bengals were persistent in sticking with the run. It paid off. Mixon had a fantastic effort to break loose for a career-long, 47-yard gain. He made a man miss in the hole, bounced outside and weaved his way down the sideline. After the long gain, Mixon later finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown. Marvin Lewis decided to go for it on fourth down and Mixon rewarded his faith in the run game, burrowing through a small hole and keeping his balance to barely push across the goal line. Mixon took a toss sweep to the right and was able to get to the edge for a 15-yard touchdown. Mixon didn't have much success as a pass catcher, gaining just one yard on four targets. He was targeted near the goal line but Driskel misfired badly on the short pass. Overall, it was another excellent effort for Mixon who was the clear focal point of the offense. The Bengals are now 6-1 this season when Mixon carries the ball 20 times or more.
2018 Week 16 vs CLE (17 / 68 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
Mixon was again the centerpiece of the offense. His workload (19 touches) is much more impressive when considering the Bengals only managed 46 offensive plays and played most of the game trailing by multiple scores. It was often an all-or-nothing proposition for Mixon, which made it hard to string together first downs. He had six carries for no gain or negative yards and was often hit in the backfield. The Browns were stacking the box and bringing blitzes more often than not. On the other hand, he also broke off long runs of 15, 16 and 20 yards, showing the quick feet, loose hips, and easy acceleration that has made him so dangerous down the stretch. He also looked smooth on an 11-yard catch and run on a swing pass. Mixon's talent shone through in flashes but the Bengals were too often dominated in the trenches for the running game to really shine.
2018 Week 17 vs PIT (13 / 105 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Mixon finished off the season in fine fashion. He didn't get the start, though he in-dicated after the game it was due simply to a response to the personnel package the Steelers opened with and nothing injury or discipline related. The Bengals weren't able to sustain enough drives to get Mixon to the magic number of 20 carries that has almost always led to a Bengals win. He still made the most of his opportunities, how-ever. Mixon rushed for 8.1 yards per carry, highlighted by a season-long 51-yard spring in the fourth quarter. He was able to squirt through a small crease, then weaved his way down the right side to get the Bengals into the red zone. The play demonstrated his elite burst and long speed that is so rare in a back his size. Unfortu-nately, he looked a bit winded after the long run and left the game for a couple plays. He didn't end up touching the ball again and the Bengals offense had to settle for a game-tying field goal.
2017 Week 1 vs BAL (8 / 9 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
Mixon was a big part of the Bengals tailback rotation and played every snap on the second series of the game. After being stuffed on first down, he was able to make something out of nothing on the next play. Mixon caught a short dump off from Dalton, made the first man miss and then accelerated down the sideline for a 10-yard gain and first down. Mixon took his next carry for eight yards, showing nice patience before making a sharp cut to get upfield. The two highlight plays early in the first quarter were the only positive plays Mixon had on the day. He managed only seven more yards total on his final ten touches. Mixon played the second most snaps at running back (22) and likely would have led the team had the Bengals not fallen so far behind early in the game.
2017 Week 2 vs HOU (9 / 36 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
While he wasn't spectacular, Mixon was the Bengals best running back and led the team in rushing yards. Compared to Hill and Bernard, Mixon has shown the best ability to make something from nothing when the blocking is poor. On a seven-yard gain, J.J. Watt broke into the backfield for a potential tackle for loss and Mixon left him waving at air with a smooth jump cut to the outside. Mixon had another impressive play on a 7-yard reception. Jadeveon Clowney jumped on his back and Mixon carried him forward for another five yards. Mixon's playing time in Week 2 was extremely disappointing for his fantasy owners. He logged just 25% of the offensive snaps (16 total).
2017 Week 3 vs GB (18 / 62 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 39 / 0 rec)
It was only a matter of time until we saw a changing of the guard at running back for the Bengals. It took a couple weeks and a pair of dreadful offensive performances but under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, Cincinnati finally handed the keys over to Joe Mixon as the lead back. Mixon responded with 101 total yards on 21 touches (on 56% of the snaps) and helped put the team in position to pull off a major upset in Green Bay. Jeremy Hill started and played the first handful of snaps. When Mixon entered the game midway through the opening drive, he made an immediate impact. He caught a 3rd-and-3 swing pass, jump cut past a defender near the line to gain and sprinted for another 18 yards for a gain of 21. He ended the run with a strong stiff arm that forced the defender to grab Mixon's face mask to get him down, turning the play into an even bigger gain. Mixon stayed in the game to finish the first drive in the red zone and had a couple carries from just outside the 10-yard line that didn't generate much. Mixon looked good as a receiver throughout the game. He went motioned out to the slot, caught a high pass and lowered his head for a gain of nine yards. He stayed in on 3rd-and-8 and caught another nine-yard pass on the next play. The Bengals fed Mixon heavily in the second half. On the Bengals last drive in regulation, Mixon was key in bleeding the clock and getting it into field goal range to stake the Bengals to a 7-point lead in the final minutes of the game. He carried five times for 30 yards on the drive, highlighted by some impressive cuts and tough finishes. The drive ended on a down note, however. Facing 3rd-and-1, the Bengals lined up in the I-formation and were looking to hand it off to Mixon but he lost his footing before he ever got the ball and Dalton had to abort the handoff attempt and eat the ball for a loss. It was one of the key plays of the game as the Bengals were forced to settle for a field goal and left Aaron Rodgers enough time to engineer a comeback.
2017 Week 4 vs CLE (17 / 29 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 19 / 0 rec)
For the second straight game, Mixon received the bulk of the snaps and touches at running back for the Bengals. He again totaled 21 touches but he is still waiting for his breakout performance. His first touch of the game was a 7-yard reception that was called back due to a holding penalty. Mixon had some opportunities to score his first touchdown. Mixon caught a pass inside the 10-yard line along the boundary but wasn't able to shake the lone defender to get into the end zone. He got a carry from inside the 5-yard line but was stacked up after a gain of just a yard. The short gain was a theme for Mixon who was regularly being hit before he could get past the line of scrimmage. Aside from a 10-yard run, it was tough sledding. Mixon's best play came on a short screen pass that looked like it would go for a handful of yards but he hesitated seemingly forever and bounced it outside to pick up 10 yards. Mixon is talented and getting enough touches to be an impact fantasy player but it is still unknown if the Bengals line is good enough to give him any creases. The Browns run blitzed a lot on Sunday so it is probably wise to not read too much into his poor showing.
2017 Week 5 vs BUF (15 / 51 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
For the third straight week, Mixon played over half of the snaps (36 of 66) and dominated the backfield touches. He did well to make something from nothing on several occasions. He took one handoff that should have gone for a loss for an 8-yard gain. He had nowhere to run and bounced it outside where a linebacker was waiting to make the tackle. Mixon made a huge jump cut to the outside and then ran through the defender's diving tackle attempt before accelerating forward for the solid gain. Mixon's 5-yard touchdown came on a similar play. There was no room up the middle, so Mixon made a jump cut to the outside and outraced a defender to the edge before turning the corner and sprinting into the end zone. Mixon has shown the speed and lateral agility necessary to be a big-play threat and it is only a matter of time until he breaks off some long gains. Far too often, Mixon was swarmed in the backfield and dropped for minimal gain or a loss. Some of the Bengals issues running the ball are due to poor offensive line play but it also seems like teams are guessing right on run blitzes with regularity. The offensive coaching staff needs to use the bye week to determine if it is tipping plays with formations or tendencies.
2017 Week 7 vs PIT (7 / 48 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)
The usage of Mixon against the Steelers was perplexing. He was one of the best players on the field in the first half. He was the primary back on the Bengals second and third drives of the game. The Bengals scored touchdowns on both drives with Mixon doing much of the heavy lifting. Then, the Bengals went rotated in the other backs for the next three drives and Mixon didn't even see the field again until the game was out of hand late in the third quarter. He didn't have a single carry after the middle of the second quarter. Mixon provided a spark when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. He took his first carry for 25 yards. The play was supposed to go right behind a pulling guard but Mixon showed incredible quickness and vision to stop and cut the ball back the other direction and explode up the middle for the big gain. The play was a perfect example of the combination of size, speed and quickness that could make Mixon an elite back. Mixon had another highlight play to get the Bengals into the red zone on the next drive. He took a draw for 15 yards and made a few slick cuts to weave through the defense.
2017 Week 8 vs IND (11 / 18 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 91 / 0 rec)
Mixon played a season-high 62.5% of the snaps and handled 70% (14-of-20) of the running back touches. He wasn't able to get much of anything going as a rusher. His long gain was just seven yards and he was dropped for a loss on 3-of-11 carries. While Hill started and played the first few snaps, Mixon entered the game when the Bengals opening drive entered the red zone. He received a 2nd-and-goal carry from the 10-yard line and bounced it outside after finding no room up the middle. He appeared to have the edge but stumbled and fell untouched behind the line of scrimmage before he could turn it up field. Mixon did nearly all of his damage as a receiver out of the backfield. He caught a short swing pass along the right sideline, then jump cut past a defender into the middle of the field before being brought down for a 16-yard gain. Mixon's big play was a 67-yard reception on a well-designed screen pass. Mixon caught the ball short and had two blockers ahead. He turned what would have been a 20-yard gain into a near touchdown by making a safety miss in space near midfield. Mixon was tracked down and tripped up by the ankle at the 3-yard line on the play, just shy of what would have been his second touchdown of the season. Mixon made a spectacular one-handed grab on a 3rd-and-6 swing pass and then made a nice move to get past the sticks but he never put a second hand on the ball and had it knocked out for a costly fumble at the end of the run.
2017 Week 9 vs JAX (13 / 31 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
From a fantasy perspective, there was both good news and bad news for Mixon in Week 9. First, the good news: The Bengals coaching staff has finally accepted that Mixon is the best running back on the team and his usage rate and playing time continue to creep up. For the first time this season, the Bengals made Jeremy Hill inactive. Mixon played 72% of the offensive snaps against Jacksonville and received the carry or target on 61% of his snaps. Mixon touched the ball on nearly half of the Bengals snaps. He tied for the team in targets and received all but one of the running back carries. Given a standard game script at those usage rates, Mixon would have seen in the neighborhood of 30 touches and likely had a big day. Now, the bad news: The Bengals offensive line is a disaster and even with workhorse-level usage rate, Mixon may not make much of a fantasy impact. Cincinnati converted just one third-down all game and didn't have a drive of more than six plays all day. Holes were non-existent. Mixon did well to average 2.4 yards per carry given that the offensive line was physically dominated. Mixon did find the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run. He took a shotgun snap, accelerated around the edge down the right sideline, dove and extended the ball just inside the pylon.
2017 Week 10 vs TEN (9 / 37 / 1 rush, 3 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
With Jeremy Hill placed on injured reserve, Mixon is the clear lead back with Bernard being used as a change-of-pace and third down back. Mixon played 30-of-51 snaps and 9-of-11 running back carries. When Mixon had space, he was dangerous. He showed tremendous burst and the ability to change directions at high speed on early runs of 8 and 13 yards. Too often, the Titans had free runners hitting Mixon in the backfield right when he took the handoff. On back-to-back early carries, he was blown up for losses of 3 and 4 yards. The first loss came due to a well-timed Safety run blitz allowing a defender to arrive untouched off the edge. The next loss was due to a defensive tackle plowing through the line and meeting Mixon the instant he took the shotgun handoff. After an interception set the Bengals up with 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Mixon pounded in the touchdown. He started left and then put his foot in the ground to cut back to the right through a big hole for the score. The Bengals tried to get Mixon involved as a receiver but failed. One screen attempt was set up well and would have likely gone for a big gain but Dalton threw too high for Mixon to handle. A later attempt at a screen was sniffed out by the Titans and blown up before Mixon could haul in the pass.
2017 Week 11 vs DEN (20 / 49 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 rec)
The touches weren't a problem for Mixon. Despite the Bengals running just 51 offensive plays, Mixon touched it 22 times. The issue again was the lack of holes to run through and getting hit in the backfield, as Mixon averaged just 2.2 yards per touch. Mixon did come close to an early touchdown. After an early 101-yard interception return set the Bengals up on the Broncos 1-yard line, Mixon had back-to-back carries but was stuffed just shy of the goal line on both attempts. While Mixon's numbers and yards per carry look dreadful, he actually played pretty well. He was able to generate positive yardage on most runs and kept the Bengals in manageable downs and distances.
2017 Week 12 vs CLE (23 / 114 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 51 / 0 rec)
For perhaps the first time all season, Mixon consistently had some space to operate and he took full advantage. Right from the start, it was clear Mixon was destined to have a big game. He charged through a big hole for a gain of nine yards on his first carry. The Bengals offensive line was able to open creases for Mixon to get through the line and Mixon looked fantastic once he reached the second level. He displayed excellent burst and finished runs with authority, getting low and running over Browns safeties on multiple occasions. The Bengals had some nicely designed screens to take advantage of the Browns aggressiveness. On one, Mixon perfectly chipped the blitzing linebacker and slipped into the flat to catch the pass with two blockers ahead of him and plenty of green. He went for a gain of 36 on the play. Mixon had a whopping 7 carries inside the red zone (including three inside the 10-yard line). He was tackled just shy of the end zone twice but finally scored late in the game on an 11-yard run off of left tackle. Mixon had 26 of the 30 Bengals running back touches and is fully entrenched as the workhorse back.
2017 Week 13 vs PIT (7 / 34 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Mixon came out of the gates strong, ripping off solid gains of 8, 9 and 10 yards in the early part of the game. Mixon was running with excellent patience and flashed the incredibly unique mix of power, speed and change of direction that could eventually make him one of the league's top backs. His day was cut short when he was sandwiched between two defenders after a gain of 8 yards on a screen pass. He left with 6:44 remaining in the half and never returned due to the concussion.
2017 Week 16 vs DET (3 / 12 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
Mixon was off to a fast start and looked to be headed toward a big game with 32 yards in the first six minutes. However, he suffered an ankle less than halfway through the first quarter and near returned.
2017 Week 17 vs BAL (18 / 96 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Mixon set the tone early with strong running. He showed the combination of patience, acceleration and ability to finish powerfully that could make him a special player in future seasons. Mixon did have one big mistake. After breaking through the line for a big gain, he didn't seem to sense the tackler coming from the inside and had the ball ripped loose. Mixon ceded nearly all of the third-down work to Giovani Bernard and the split backfield worked well.