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Bengals Bytes (10/5): Bright spot

The Bengals young defense has been one of the biggest bright spots during a frustrating start to the season. Bill Lazor is looking to get the run game going. Antonio Brown apologizes for causing a scene during the Ravens’ game.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers Adam Wesley-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup of the Game: Bengals unveil V-Neck look with Vontaze, Vigil
Vigil, the second-year kid, is coming off his break-out game with his speedy tackling and cover skills. Burfict, suddenly a six-year vet and one of the top players in the game, is just coming back with his razor instincts and explosive play after making his season debut last week. Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett has seen them play just about 50 snaps together, all of them last week in Cleveland, and already he thinks it’s a tandem to be reckoned with around the NFL.

TDBH: Bengals catch “White Shoes,” Oilers to go to 3-0
Here’s what the Bengals stuff into the fourth quarter of today’s thriller in the Astrodome to overcome a 17-7 deficit and post a 21-19 division win on the road that stands as one of the most memorable in their history: two touchdown passes from NFL passing leader Ken Anderson, a goal-line stand, former college basketball star Ken Johnson’s forced fumble of Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini and the recovery by linebacker Al Beauchamp, cornerback Ken Riley’s 24th career interception, and Dave Green’s 41-yard punt with two minutes left that goes out of bounds at the Oilers 5 to finally handcuff the incredible Billy “White Shoes,” Johnson.

Slants and screens: Dunlap hopes Lawson chases record; Stalking Taylor; Lawson Bengals' mouthpiece
Pro Bowl left end Carlos Dunlap is looking at the Bengals’ rookie pass rushers and sees Carl Lawson’s 107 pass-rush snaps and even Jordan Willis’ 45 and thinks he and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins are pioneers. “They won’t make that same mistake again,” Dunlap said Wednesday of his coaches. “If young players can help us early, get them out there. Geno and I performed great as rookies. They see that rookies can come in and play. It was our class and then A.J. (Green) and Andy (Dalton) came in the next year.”

Hobson's Choice: Bengaldom looking to run
All I know is if they keep running it like this, no good can come of it. They’re on pace to rush for 1,420 yards. The only season they’ve failed to rush for 1,500 yards was 1995 with 1,439 yards. How good was Jeff Blake in ’95? They went 7-9 with the last defense in the league and they’ve got now, at the very least, a top ten defense this season. But it’s uphill all the way if they keep on this pace.

Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 10/4
The Bills are playing really good football. Offensively, they’ve been impressive. They’ve really done a great job of not turning the football over. They’ve been very productive on third downs, which is key. They’ve converted 40 percent of their third downs. That’s what stands out. Obviously (Bills QB) Tyrod Taylor is doing a fine job. (Bills RB) LeSean McCoy is such a great runner. They have really good, sound people. Defensively, they’re very explosive up front. (Bills CB Tre’Davious White) is playing very well in the secondary, and the secondary is doing a great job of getting the ball in their hands.

Cincinnati Bengals' Carl Lawson flashes new smile after losing teeth
Bengals rookie defensive end Carl Lawson took an accident in stride during Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. He was cracking jokes in the locker room just hours after losing part of his two front teeth while attempting to get a sack in Cleveland. Lawson, 22, handled the situation well, despite hours of ribbing from his teammates about the whole situation.

Bengals Walkthru: Burfict flag prime example of perception
Vontaze Burfict was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Cleveland on Sunday. In the stat books, it will look like just another blemish on a long line of such penalties against the controversial linebacker. He's had 17 personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct/roughing the passer calls in his career. Only one last year, then this one in his first game back off suspension.

Bengals' offense looking for a run fix
Bill Lazor has met with the media on two occasions at length since taking over the play-calling duties for the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 22, and each time he’s made sure to mention one of his pillars of offense is getting a running back in some kind of a groove. But when the “to do” list began with scoring a touchdown (and then a few more), getting Andy Dalton right and establishing an identity – well, something was going to have to be checked off a little later.

Bengals' upcoming three-game stretch can turn season around
The thrill is back. Bengals football became fun to watch, over the past two weeks. After two consecutive lackluster home games, the Cincinnati offense has looked like a powerhouse on the road. To be honest and completely open, there’s no coincidence the Bengals are scoring points under Bill Lazor. He simplified the play calling for Andy Dalton and he’s looking like the confident player fans have wanted. But, he’ll have to be just as good–or better–over the next three weeks. The next three games are make-or-break battles.

Young Bengals defense has been bright spot in 1-3 start
As the Bengals closed out a lopsided win over the Browns, their defensive line featured three rookies. Third-round pick Jordan Willis and fourth-rounders Ryan Glasgow and Carl Lawson formed the front of what’s been one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses so far.

AFC North Bytes

Why Jabrill Peppers was manned up on A.J. Green last Sunday
Cleveland Browns rookie safety Jabrill Peppers has been the subject of much discussion in his first four games. Much of it has centered on how Peppers, as the single safety, has lined up 25 yards deep. People watching on TV don’t even see him in the picture.

Ravens bracing for Oakland Raiders’ dangerous pass rush
After absorbing a season-high four sacks in Sunday’s 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could face more punishment this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland is tied for 14th in the NFL in sacks with 10 and sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian four times and hit him two more times in a 16-10 loss at Denver. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley acknowledged the danger that the Raiders’ pass rush poses.

Antonio Brown Apologizes for 'Noise' and 'Distractions' After Sideline Outburst
Brown drew criticism from teammate Ben Roethlisberger, who told 93.7 The Fan (h/t ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler) that Brown's actions went "a lot further than throwing a temper tantrum." Roethlisberger added the story "is causing a distraction that none of us really need." Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was also critical of Brown.

Random Bytes

PFFELO Power Rankings - Week 5
Sometimes in football the best team does not win, and PFFELO accounts for these oddities by using our grades. Hence there will be teams rated higher or lower in this system than their win-loss record would suggest.

Chris Simms' Week 5 NFL Picks
There's a common philosophy in the NFL that the season is a long one. You might not view games in Week 5 as particularly important, but I'm here to tell you that every game this week is meaningful. Every NFL organization I was with broke the season down into quarters. Heading into the second month of the season was big because it represented a chance for an almost-new start. Jon Gruden would stress this idea, and sometimes he'd even put an assistant like Mike Tomlin in charge of motivating the team and sparking changes for the new quarter.

Cam Newton Says It's 'Funny' Hearing Female Reporter 'Talk About Routes'
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appeared to make a sexist comment during Wednesday's press conference. Newton chuckled and said it was funny to hear Jourdan Rodrigue, a female reporter for the Charlotte Observer, ask him about passing routes. Bridget Condon of ABC 11 in Durham, North Carolina, shared a clip of Newton's reaction to the question