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Bengals Bytes (10/19): Crash course

The Bengals and Steelers will have a combined nine rookies playing in this rivalry for the first time. Andrew Luck suffers a setback during his recovery.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

TDBH:Lewis’ first PBS win comes at expense of old team in new-look AFC North
One of the reasons the Bengals turn to former record-setting Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to be their head coach is his knowledge of their division after tours in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Today’s 34-26 victory over the Ravens defense he led to the Super Bowl title three years ago is exhibit A as the Ravens drop to 3-3 and Cincinnati moves to 2-4, one game up on the Ravens in the AFC North at 2-1. "Forgive me if I'm not popping champagne bottles for him," says Ravens head coach Brian Billick, Lewis’ boss for six seasons.

'Same kind of guys' meet at Heinz
Don’t look now, but the Bengals-Steelers rivalry isn’t as ancient you think when the two brandish their swords Sunday (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) at Heinz Field. A total of 21 Bengals have never played a scrimmage snap in the storied series and that includes potential starters in linebackers Nick Vigil and Kevin Minter, right guards T.J. Johnson and Trey Hopkins, and cornerback William Jackson, as well as kicker Randy Bullock. Those six, as well as seven more figure to get significant snaps from scrimmage or special teams, or both, in Pittsburgh

Quick hits: Adam, Ross limited; George Thankfully explains rivalry; A.J.-AB numbers
The Bengals head into Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) missing slot receiver Tyler Boyd (knee) and fullback Ryan Hewitt (knee) and maybe starting cornerback Adam Jones (hip), rookie wide receiver John Ross (knee), and back-up safeties Derron Smith (ankle) and Clayton Fejedelem (hamstring). Jones, Ross, Smith, and Fejedelem all went limited Wednesday and there were no signs of Boyd and Hewitt on the field.

Dalton, Lewis News Conference Transcripts 10/18
As we go into this game, obviously for us it’s a big football game being on the road and in the division. It’s one that can get us back to .500 on the season — so it’s really important. The key element is our preparation throughout the week and doing a nice job (in practice) and staying within ourselves and go play.

Tyler Eifert has successful back surgery, will rehab in Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert's stool has been up in his locker for several days, and several boxes have piled up. He hasn't been seen during open locker-room periods in several weeks. Eifert, who just had back surgery and has been placed on IR, won’t be back this season. Whether Eifert, a pending free agent, comes back next season, is also unknown.

Cincinnati Bengals: Can they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Mike Mitchell said to look at the play, so I did. The play wasn’t quite as Mitchell described. Mitchell, the Pittsburgh Steelers safety, said he was “pushed’’ into Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith last Sunday. If by pushing, he meant a teammate laid a feather-hand on his shoulder and he lunged forward, then OK, Mitchell was pushed.

Jac Collinsworth pulls prank on ESPN colleague Rex Ryan
Jac Collinsworth, the son of NBC Sunday Night Football analyst and former Cincinnati Bengals great Cris Collinsworth who recently joined ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown as a features reporter, has filed several stories so far in his new role, including this one about touchdown celebrations and this about Patrick Peterson's car collection.

Bengals' matchup with Steelers could be something special
It’s just a few days away. That magical time is upon the Queen City and Bengals fans are ready for something different. The Men in Orange & Black have lost four straight to the Steelers. The last time the Bengals beat Pittsburgh, Marvin Lewis was still slightly loved and respected in the city of Cincy. Well, maybe not love. And maybe not that much respect. Anyway, the point is simple. A win at Heinz Field would be a huge confidence builder for Week 7 and beyond.

Ouch! Bengals newcomers get crash course in Steelers rivalry
One of the NFL’s edgiest rivalries is getting passed onto the next generation of Bengals. Nine rookies will see firsthand why so much has been made of these high-stakes games with the Steelers. It won’t take them long on Sunday to realize this game is different from the others.

Zombie-like Bengals have risen from the dead ahead of Steelers tilt
Just in time for Halloween, the Cincinnati Zombies pop up in the home of the “Night of the Living Dead” this week. They were dead and buried as the Bengals last month after they started 0-3. Coach Marvin Lewis even extinguished his offensive coordinator after they did not score a touchdown in their first two games.

Cincinnati Bengals: Offensive Line Rotation Not Ideal
In his address to the team following the dismissal of Ken Zampese the week of September 18, Marvin Lewis made one thing clear: The onus is now on you. “The next time, look around, there will be different guys sitting there,” Lewis said of that message. By the following Sunday in Green Bay, there weren’t new players occupying lockers – but there were new faces on the field, most notably at the tackle spot. Nine-year veteran Andre Smith quietly rotated into the offensive line, playing 43 percent of the offensive snaps at left and right tackle.

Cincinnati Bengals Walkthru Oct. 18, 2017 Safety George Iloka
George Iloka has spent quite a bit of time explaining his take on not “sticking to sports” on Twitter. I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple conversations with him both on and off the record on this topic. He’s always thoughtful, honest and open-minded. Of all the Bengals players, he’s one of the most socially conscious and vocal about his opinions. He’s never been afraid to talk about a touchy topic, particularly in regards to the anthem protests and social/racial inequality.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens’ passing attack sputters under Mornhinweg, Flacco
When the Ravens added Greg Roman to the coaching staff, he was described by some (maybe us; I can’t recall) as the team’s next future interim offensive coordinator. The future soon could be the present, if coach John Harbaugh decides yet again to make a change.

DeShone Kizer Named Browns' Starting QB vs. Titans over Kevin Hogan
Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson announced Wednesday that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will return to a starting role for Sunday's Week 7 home game against the Tennessee Titans. Kevin Hogan started in place of Kizer last week after the rookie struggled in the season's first five games, but Hogan likewise faltered during the 33-17 loss to the Houston Texans.

Bell runs away with AFC honor
Running back Le’Veon Bell has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Steelers’ 19-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Bell carried the ball 32 times for a season-high 179 yards and a touchdown. He added three receptions for 12 yards, for a total of 191 yards from scrimmage.

Random Bytes

Chris Simms' Superstars of NFL Week 6
The term "superstar" gets thrown around an awful lot, but let me tell you, I know a real superstar when I see one. When I entered my first NFL training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I met Warren Sapp. My first thought was that he didn't look all that impressive, and I wondered what the hype was about.

Michael Bennett will sit during anthem, despite Goodell's request
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believes players in the league should stand during the national anthem. That's a popular opinion among the league's owners, coaches and players, but it's not one that will change the behavior of Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who plans to continue sitting during America's song.

Roger Goodell Says 'We Believe Our Players Should Stand for the National Anthem'
After a meeting between NFL owners and players about various social issues impacting the league, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday to discuss players' protests during the national anthem.

Andrew Luck Has Soreness from Shoulder Injury; Not Guaranteed to Play in 2017
Andrew Luck has made a slow recovery from his shoulder injury and it appears he is still not close to returning to the field. Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard noted the quarterback would not practice this week due to soreness in his shoulder, per Mike Chappell of Fox59. The GM wouldn't even confirm that Luck would play at all in 2017, according to Zak Keefer of the Indy Star.