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Bengals Bytes (10/31): Kicking inside

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Paul Guenther wants Vontaze Burfict to play inside linebacker more now with Kevin Minter injured. The offensive line is still a huge issue. Several big trades happened last night.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

TDBH: Curtis continues hex of Cleveland, 21-6
The 6-2 Bengals go two games up on the rest of the 4-4 AFC Central today before Riverfront Stadium’s biggest crowd of the year when a Halloween gathering of 54,776 watches Cincinnati wide receiver Isaac Curtis continue to hex the living bejeezus out of Cleveland in a 21-6 victory. After the Browns cut the lead to 7-6 on two Don Cockroft field goals, Curtis and quarterback Ken Anderson break the game open as halftime nears with one of their vintage big-play strikes. Curtis dekes Browns cornerback Clarence Scott to the inside and instead of running a post goes straight and Anderson puts it over Curtis’ shoulder at the Cleveland 20 and he’s untouched for a 69-yard score. It’s his 30th touchdown in just his fourth season, which already ties him for the franchise lead with nine-year tight end Bob Trumpy.

Lewis news conference Transcript 10/30
As I said after the game yesterday, obviously it was a good football game to win. We probably didn’t execute our best throughout the day in all three phases at times. And at (other) times, we played very well and did good things. We’re right in the thick of the season and we have to work hard at getting better. (We need to) make sure we stay on the same page with whatever it is. Whatever play — on offense, defense or special teams — (we need to) all fit together the correct way, all the time.

Quick hits: Tez staying in middle; Four Corners Defense
Vontaze Burfict came to the Bengals five years ago as a middle linebacker but rose to NFL prominence as an outside linebacker. He’s always been the middle linebacker on passing downs but now that it appears Kevin Minter (elbow) is going to be out a second straight game, he’s going to stay in the middle on all downs after the defense again cleared the way for another win Sunday. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has no plans to take him out of there any time soon.

Dalton finds a way
For his 30th birthday and 100th NFL start Andy Dalton got a surprise party Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium from a Colts defense that chased him up Central Avenue and down Elm Street with not so good wishes.

What did we learn from Bengals vs Colts in Week 8?
It was more than some Bengals fans could stand. On a cold, overcast Cincinnati day, the home team almost laid an egg. The Indianapolis Colts were on the verge of staging the upset of the day, before Carlos Dunlap stepped in and provided some last-minute heroics. Yes, it was a close 24-23 win for the Orange & Black. But, was it really a win to be proud of? An ugly win is better than a pretty loss. But, there are still some things to be concerned about with this team.

Issues remain on Bengals' O-line
The Cincinnati Bengals' offensive line isn't getting any better. It was a concern going into the season and even a change at offensive coordinator has not helped that unit do a better job of protecting quarterback Andy Dalton or generating a consistent rushing attack. Even on Sunday against an Indianapolis Colts defense ranked near the bottom of the league and playing without several injured starters -- including linebacker John Simon, cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Quincy Wilson, and safety Malik Hooker -- the Bengals' line gave up three sacks and allowed Dalton to be hit six times and hurried eight. One of Dalton's two touchdown passes -- to rookie Josh Malone -- came with a Colts defender in his face after being unblocked up the middle.

Bengals Walkthru: Playing the offensive line blame game
As has been the case, everybody can see – and knew – in March how finding a way to keep Andrew Whitworth and, to a lesser extent, Kevin Zeitler was going to set this offense back. The Bengals doubled down on the potential of Cedric Ogbuehi instead of recognizing their first-round pick's struggles and they are paying the price for it. When you whiff on first-round picks you will pay for it. No matter who or what position.

AFC North Bytes

Maurkice Pouncey on Lions D-Line: 'They Literally Tried to Attack Me'
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey didn't mince words when discussing his anger toward the Detroit Lions' defensive line following Sunday's 20-15 win for Pittsburgh. Pouncey took issue with how some Lions linemen fired off the ball as the Steelers were in victory formation to take a knee and run out the clock in the fourth quarter. ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler shared his comments

Hue Jackson says he still feels support from Browns owners at 1-23
The Browns haven’t won this year, and only won once last year. And plenty of teams have used the break after a game in London to make changes in such situations. But even if it wasn’t said specifically after their latest loss (to the Vikings, which dropped him to 1-23 there), Browns coach Hue Jackson said he felt like he had the support of owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam.

John Harbaugh: Joe Flacco has zero concussion symptoms
It didn’t take long for the Ravens to place quarterback Joe Flacco in the concussion protocol after he took a shot to the head from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso while sliding to the ground in last Thursday’s 40-0 Ravens win, but it doesn’t sound like the team expects him to spend an extended period of time in it this week.

Random Bytes

Report: Duane Brown Traded to Seahawks; Texans Receive Jeremy Lane, Draft Picks
Veteran offensive tackle Duane Brown is on the move after the Houston Texans traded him to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Schefter reported Seattle sent cornerback Jeremy Lane, a 2018 fifth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick to Houston as part of the deal.

Chiefs' Stellar Defense Still Good Enough When New-and-Improved Offense Falters
There was no reason the Kansas City Chiefs' win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night should have been close. There was no reason to allow a team with Trevor Siemian as its quarterback to hang around at Arrowhead Stadium. There was no reason for knuckles to turn white.

Ezekiel Elliott Injunction Denied; Begins 6-Game Suspension from Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was reportedly denied an injunction for his six-game suspension Monday. The injunction would have freed him to continue playing during the 2017 season while the case proceeds through the legal process. Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reported the news, noting the judge dissolved the temporary restraining order. She noted the conclusion was the NFL Players Association "failed to demonstrate a substantial question warranting the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief."

Jimmy Garoppolo Reportedly Traded to 49ers; Patriots Receive 2nd-Round Pick
The New England Patriots have arguably the best player in NFL history under center in Tom Brady, so his backup became expendable. New England traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday in exchange for a second-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The trade is for the team's original second-round pick, which will likely be one of the earlier selections in the round.

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 9?
A lot of people might think that because I'm a former NFL quarterback, I'm all about the offense. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, there's nothing I love more than a game that involves hard-hitting, technically sound defense. I've been around some tremendous defenders in my time, ever since I was a kid. My dad played with one of the most physically gifted, game-wrecking defensive players of all time in Lawrence Taylor.