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Bengals Bytes (10/10): Rising to the top

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The Bengals defense has been steadily rising, and after five weeks it is one of the best in the NFL. A look at the latest mock draft.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals gas up defense with oil change of youth
Since the 2009 Bengals shot to No. 4 in defense, they’ve put together some of the most memorable games and units in franchise history starting with that team’s sweep of the AFC North. But head coach Marvin Lewis has never seen any of his defenses do what the men are doing under defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in the first five of games of this season they are first or second in five categories and are on pace to set 16-game franchise records for fewest yards (4,205) and points allowed (265).

Defense spins the oldies in a PBS shutdown
On Sunday after it was over the Bengals were talking about defensive coordinator Paul Guenther playing Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” in the meeting room, a hit from the late ‘90s that he uses to emphasize his search for closers at the end of games.

Bengals News Conference Transcripts 10/9
We’re here to honor the Brown family and the Bengals for 50 seasons (in Cincinnati). Recently city council and the Bengals have been working together to have a display in Fountain Square, but this is Bengal Country and Bengal City. The incredible history of the Brown family — from Cleveland — coming here, to start this great franchise, 50 years ago, is a source of pride for all of us. It’s great on Monday morning after a big win in terrible conditions yesterday, and we are very hopeful for this season.

TDBH: Gary’s vicious play on Anderson’s neck incites call for QB safety
One of the NFL’s most heated rivalries didn’t just surface in the Marvin Lewis Era. Before there is Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward breaking Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers’ jaw, before there is Steelers defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen tearing up Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer’s knee, before there is Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier knocking cold Bengals running back Giovani Bernard on shots the NFL outlaws before the next season, there is Steelers rookie defensive end Keith Gary severely spraining Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson’s neck on one of the most controversial plays in league history.

Bengals defense rises to top of NFL
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sat down Monday and listed the big plays his defense gave up over the first five weeks of the season with relative ease. There was the blitz Baltimore and Jeremy Maclin beat them on in the opener. There was the 49-yard scramble by DeShaun Watson.

After 0-3 start, Bengals back in thick of AFC North race
A Bengals team that lost its first three games is getting rewarded with an extra day off this week. That's how quickly things have changed. Facing elimination from the AFC North only two weeks ago, the Bengals are back in the thick of the race — only one game out of first place — heading into their bye. A 20-16 victory over Buffalo on Sunday gave Cincinnati (2-3) a reprieve.

Week 5: Bengals finally find a way to win a close game
Andy Dalton threw for 328 yards, A.J. Green hauled in seven catches for a buck-89 and a score, and Joe Mixon scored his first professional touchdown. On a rain-soaked Paul Brown Stadium turf, the Bengals found a way to win a game they desperately needed, beating the Buffalo Bills 20-16.

Bengals crawl back closer to .500
It was linebacker Carl Lawson redeeming himself for a careless late hit with a key third-down sack. It was receiver A.J. Green overcoming three self-induced turnovers with 189 receiving yards and a touchdown. It was a Bengals team that struggled to finish off wins in recent years engineering an 11-play, five-plus-minute drive in the fourth quarter for an important field goal. Not only did the 20-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium prevent a 1-4 start while moving the Bengals to 2-3 with momentum heading into a bye week, the win also showed something.

Walkthru: Judging progress in Bengals offense
I was surprised to see more than a couple tweets like this in my mentions upon coming up from the locker room on Sunday. Guess there was criticism of the Bengals offense out there after this one. I’ll point out there are still issues, obviously. The run game lacks efficiency. The pass protection draws some stability from the Andre Smith rotation, but still can be quite troublesome.

Bengals' Tyler Boyd: Diagnosed with MCL sprain
Boyd (knee) was diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is expected to miss a few weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

AFC North Bytes

NFL Week 5 Grades: Steelers get an 'F' after Roethlisberger melts down vs. Jaguars
After spending half the offseason talking about whether or not Tom Brady could fend off Father Time this year, it turns out that maybe we should've been having that conversation about Ben Roethlisberger.

Hue Jackson will make quarterback decision by Wednesday
Browns coach Hue Jackson vows to “take some time” to decide whether to start DeShone Kizer or Kevin Hogan against the Texans on Sunday. But “some time” apparently means two days. Jackson announced he would decide by Wednesday.

Mike Wallace: Ravens' offense wants to reach Patriots' standards
The Baltimore Ravens delivered their most complete offensive performance of the season in beating the Oakland Raiders, 30-17, on Sunday. The Ravens welcomed the return of Joe Flacco's deep passes downfield. They ran the ball for 143 yards, even though running back Terrance West left the game with an injured calf on the opening drive. And Baltimore didn't have a turnover for the first time this year.

Random Bytes

Brandon Marshall Announces He'll Have Season-Ending Surgery on Ankle Injury
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall's first season with the New York Giants is ending after just five games. Marshall posted a message on Instagram Monday revealing he will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday. This comes after the Giants announced Marshall suffered an ankle injury during Sunday's contest against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Case Keenum, Vikings Sneak Past Bears in Mitchell Trubisky's NFL Debut
The Chicago Bears got the Mitchell Trubisky era off on the wrong foot as they fell 20-17 to the Minnesota Vikings Monday night at Soldier Field. While much of the attention entering the game focused on Trubisky making his NFL debut as a starter, Case Keenum stole the show by going 17-of-21 for 140 yards and a touchdown.

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller's Updated Projections
You might be thinking it's far too early for a mock draft, but if so, you probably aren't a fan of one of the winless or one-win teams in the NFL right now. If you're a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan or one of those Giants, Chargers, 49ers or Jets faithful hoping for a rebuild, we're here for you.