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Bengals Bytes (10/17): One step at a time

John Ross made his way back to practice. The Steelers are in the Bengals way as usual. NaVorro Bowman signed a one-year deal with the Raiders.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals Practice 10/16
Cincinnati Bengals host practice at Paul Brown Stadium Practice Fields 10/16/2017

Ross cautiously returns step-by-step
John Ross, last seen when he fumbled his first NFL touch back on Sept. 14, returned to practice Monday as the Bengals began preparations for Sunday’s game (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in Pittsburgh and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready for the Steelers.

Cincinnati Bengals' first-rounder John Ross still on mend
Cincinnati Bengals rookie first-round pick John Ross pictured his season going differently than it has so far. Ross spent most of the summer recovering from labrum surgery that limited him to short appearances in the final two preseason games. Shortly into the fourth preseason game against the Colts, he tweaked his knee. That same knee has bothered him all season, putting Ross on the injury report during the Bengals’ tumultuous start.

Bengals notes: Template set at Pittsburgh; John Ross returns
The Bengals don’t beat the Steelers often. In fact, Cincinnati has now lost seven of the last eight meetings. That’s the worst stretch since the beginning of The Lost Decade. Pinpointing the method for beating the Steelers doesn’t come with a large sample size. The last victory came at Heinz Field for the first meeting of the 2015 season where a late Shawn Williams interception spurred a 16-10 win.

Bengals Announce Trio Of Moves
The Cincinnati Bengals announced a trio of moves on Monday afternoon, with linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. being added to the 53-man roster ahead of the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Taking his place on the practice squad is tight end Scott Orndoff, whom the team signed out of free agency. Additionally, long snapper Clark Harris signed a one-year extension to remain with the team through the 2018 season.

Bengals return from bye without TE Tyler Eifert
The Bengals had an eventful bye weekend. They gained ground on the Ravens, lost ground to the Steelers, and lost tight end Tyler Eifert for the rest of the season. Their next step in trying to recover from an 0-3 start comes in Pittsburgh next Sunday. Cincinnati (2-3) needs a win in their lopsided series with the AFC North leaders in order to stay relevant in the division race.

Flying Pigskin: Expect ugly game for Bengals in Pittsburgh; TE coach Jonathan Hayes talks strategy
Host Tanya O'Rourke and Mo Egger from Sports Talk on 1530 AM look ahead to the upcoming Bengals/Steelers matchup. While the game poses a big opportunity for the Bengals, both Tanya and Mo expect an ugly game.

Cincinnati Bengals add LB Hardy Nickerson from practice squad, extend LS Clark Harris
The Cincinnati Bengals have promoted linebacker Hardy Nickerson from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster. Cincinnati announced the transaction on Monday. The Bengals also announced the signing of long snapper Clark Harris to a one-year extension and the signing of tight end Scott Orndoff to the practice squad.

Walkthru: As usual, Steelers block Bengals' path
The division will go through the Steelers. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. As always with the Bengals and the AFC North, if they want to win this division, or simply make the playoffs, they must find a way to beat the Steelers. The first shot comes this week. The second on MNF on Dec. 4. Digging out of this 2-3 hole, they would probably have to go 7-2 or 8-1 against the rest of their schedule to gain a wild-card spot if they can’t beat Pittsburgh at least once.

Bengals open as six-point underdogs to Steelers
Pittsburgh could essentially close the door on Cincinnati’s division title hopes this weekend. The Steelers host the Bengals in a late-afternoon game at Heinz Field Sunday. A loss drops Cincinnati to 2-4, while Pittsburgh would be 5-2 with tiebreakers over every divisional opponent.

AFC North Bytes

Steelers G Ramon Foster Expects To Play Against Bengals
After missing Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a back injury, it sounds like Pittsburgh Steelers starting left guard Ramon Foster will be healthy enough to play in his team’s Week 7 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. On Monday, Foster talked about his back injury in addition to the prospects of him playing Sunday at Heinz Field against the Bengals.

Browns hope to eliminate turnovers, 'self-inflicted wounds' in search of win
The Browns continued their struggles with self-inflicted wounds, a dynamic that looms large over a young team searching for its first win of 2017. After six games, they lead the NFL in turnovers with 16 (including 13 interceptions) and have 46 penalties.

John Harbaugh: Blaming only Mornhinweg for Ravens' poor offense is 'nonsensical'
A day after another dismal offensive performance in a loss to the Chicago Bears, Ravens coach John Harbaugh defended much-maligned offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, reiterating that there is plenty of blame to go around for the unit’s struggles.

Random Bytes

Monday Morning Digest: Post-Rodgers, Can Anyone Besides Patriots Win Super Bowl?
Aaron Rodgers is out, perhaps for the year, with a broken collarbone. The Patriots are beating bad teams by magical rulebook reinterpretations. The Chiefs turned back into the Chiefs on Sunday after a charmed early-season run. So your safest Super Bowl prediction is probably smoldering ash in the wastebasket. And don't look for the preseason-darling choices for help, either. The Raiders are counting on a quarterback with a broken back, with predictable results. The Cowboys lost the bye week in both the courtroom and the Anthemscape. It's anyone's NFL, folks.

Will Packers Sign Kaepernick? Probably Not, But They Should Go After Romo
Not long after Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field Sunday against the Vikings, his season perhaps over due to a broken collarbone, a photo began circulating on social media. It was of Milwaukee native Colin Kaepernick. Specifically, the photo was of a young Kaepernick. He's wearing a Brett Favre jersey and standing in front of Lambeau Field.

NaVorro Bowman Signs 1-Year Raiders Contract After 49ers Release
Free-agent linebacker NaVorro Bowman and the Oakland Raiders agreed to terms Monday after the four-time All Pro was cut by the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 13. The Raiders would share video of Bowman already wearing a Raiders jersey

Marcus Mariota, Titans Snap 11-Game Losing Streak vs. Colts in MNF Win
The Tennessee Titans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 36-22 at home Monday night at Nissan Stadium. It's the first time Tennessee beat Indianapolis since Oct 30, 2011—a streak that lasted 11 games. The victory moves the Titans into a three-way tie with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars for first place in the AFC South. Tennessee hits the road to take on the winless Cleveland Browns in Week 7, so the Titans have a good chance of climbing above .500 on Sunday.