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Bengals Bytes (10/30): Keep jumping

Marvin Lewis says he will stop telling Carlos Dunlap not to jump after he saved the Bengals’ season. The Bengals’ offensive line is still a huge concern. Grades for every NFL team in Week 8.

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals gut one out
A.J. Green, who watched the 6-6 Carlos Dunlap return kicks for Fort Dorchester High School against his team from Summerville before they switched seasons and played hoops in the battle for South Carolina, continues to admire Dunlap’s gifts as a Bengals teammate but not his old team. “Oh yeah, he did it all but they didn’t beat us in anything, Green said after Dunlap tipped Sunday’s game to the Bengals when he batted a Jacoby Brissett pass in the air to change the direction of the Bengals’ season.

TDBH: Blakemania born as Iowa State Bengals scare Super Bowl champ Dallas
The script is too ridiculous, too far-fetched for Hollywood. But not for Bengaldom on a sun-splashed day at Riverfront Stadium an obscure third-year third-string quarterback in his first NFL start comes within five minutes of leading the winless Bengals to a victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys. Dallas rookie kicker Chris Boniol ends the dream with five minutes left on a 38-yard field goal that snaps a tie and gives the grateful visitors a 23-20 victory. But the crowd of 57,096 is energized when Jeff Blake gives them their first strands of hope in years bobbing and weaving for 247 yards and staking them to a 14-0 lead one play into the second quarter on two of the prettiest deep balls this side of Boomer Esiason to rookie wide receiver Darnay Scott.

Quick hits: Dunlap leaves big tip; Mr. Smith delivers; Malone thankful; Dalton guts it out
The Colts and Carlos Dunlap have to stop meeting like this. Back in 2011, Dunlap, the Bengals NBA power forward of an athlete who happens to play left end, sealed a 27-17 victory over the Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on a 35-yard fumble return with 2:22 left in the game. On Sunday, it was his 16-yard interception return on a tipped ball to himself that did more than seal it, but won it with 6:58 left, 24-23.

Colts at Bengals Postgame Quotes
I would say it was a good job winning the football game. The game didn’t unfold the way I wanted, or expected. But, give them credit for doing a good job. We kept overcoming ourselves today, and obviously there at the end, it was a good (play) by Carlos (Dunlap) with the return.

Dunlap, defense saves the day, 24-23
The Bengals stole one and the defense saved it when tackle Chris Smith drilled Brissett on fourth-and-four to force an incompletion with 1:18 left to end it. Two snaps before, with the Colts zeroing on Hall-of-Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri's range at the 50, rookie Carl Lawson sacked Brissett back to the Colts 43, the last of four for the Bengals on the day.

Le'Veon Bell of Pittsburgh Steelers takes Twitter shots at Joe Mixon of Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was clearly keeping an eye on Bengals rookie Joe Mixon on Sunday. Bell took some shots at Mixon via his Twitter account during the first half of the Bengals' 24-23 victory over the Colts. With the Steelers playing in the late game, Bell was clearly watching the Bengals' contest and hadn't forgotten about some comments Mixon made about him the week before.

Cincinnati Bengals' Carlos Dunlap doesn't stop jumping, gets pick-six
Everyone associated with the Cincinnati Bengals knows that Carlos Dunlap is good at batting down passes. His total of 13 batted passes last season, more than any other edge defender in the past 10 years, speaks for itself. But Dunlap’s knack for batted passes often comes at the wrong time. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis even grabbed Dunlap at one point during Vontaze Burfict: “We always tell Carlos, ‘Stop jumping. Stop jumping. Stop jumping -- go rush the quarterback.’ And now we can tell him to keep jumping I guess.”

Joe Mixon asked for the ball and Bengals obliged, with mixed results
Cincinnati Bengals rookie Joe Mixon said last week that he couldn’t "showcase" himself if he didn’t get the ball more, so the team gave him his wish. The results were a reflection of how Mixon’s rookie season has been so far: brilliant at times, but mixed overall.

Bengals' Burfict, Mixon react to Steelers' Bell's in-game tweets
The Cincinnati Bengals weren’t far into their enjoyment of a 24-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts when word of in-game tweets from Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell about Joe Mixon was already a topic – especially with linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who was not shy about voicing his opinion about the tweets.

Question mark grows on Cincinnati Bengals offensive line
For those hoping time will help the Bengals offensive line develop into a serviceable unit this year, Sunday was not the day to watch. The maligned front five of Cincinnati allowed Andy Dalton to take brutal hits, be sacked three more times and fail to muster an iota of push in the run game.

Colts lose late again, 24-23 to Bengals
The Indianapolis Colts found a new way to lose Sunday, fading in the fourth quarter (yet again), blowing another golden opportunity to seal their first road victory of the season. It’s who they are, it’s what they’ve become: A team that’ll tease for a half, maybe even three quarters, but hasn’t figured out how to finish. Sunday might prove the hardest of all to swallow, considering it was this team’s best effort on both sides of the ball for a good chunk of the afternoon.

AFC North Bytes

Steelers Hold Off Matthew Stafford, Lions Behind JuJu Smith-Schuster's Big Night
The Pittsburgh Steelers utilized a bend-but-don't-break approach on defense to earn a 20-15 road victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. Despite totaling 482 yards from scrimmage, the Lions were unable to get into the end zone, and five Matt Prater field goals weren't enough to come away with a home win.

Vikings Cruise to 33-16 Win vs. Browns in London; Cleveland Skids to 0-8
The Minnesota Vikings, led by their staunch defense and ball-control offense, improved to 6-2 on the season after beating the Cleveland Browns 33-16 on Sunday at London's Twickenham Stadium. The loss moved the Browns to 0-8. The team is now 4-36 in the past 2.5 seasons.

Random Bytes

Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas Cowboys not on team flight home as he heads to New York for hearing
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will not fly back to Dallas with his teammates after Sunday's 33-19 win against the Washington Redskins. Instead he will head to New York to attend a preliminary injunction hearing that could decide whether he remains on the field for the rest of the season or is forced to miss the next six games.

Monday Morning Digest: Patriots Are Bad, but Opponents Won't Stop Being Worse
If they were any other team, we would call the Patriots flukes, frauds or pretenders. Those are the terms we use for 6-2 teams that barely beat bad teams and win thanks to charitable calls, unforced opponent errors and weather oddities.

NFL Team Grades for Week 8
We're eight weeks into the 2017 regular season—halfway home for many teams. As it always does, a new week in the NFL brought madness and mayhem galore, whether it was a Baltimore beatdown Thursday night, a slew of soggy East Coast slopfests Sunday or the game of the year in the Pacific Northwest.