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Bengals Bytes (10/8): Respect and pressure

Carl Lawson’s play has earned him respect from all around, but with that comes pressure to perform as well. The Colts unveil their Peyton Manning statue infront of their stadium.

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

Bills at Bengals Game Notes
After starting the season 0-2 with disappointing home losses to Baltimore and Houston, the Bengals seemingly have begun to turn a corner, particularly with respect to their performances on offense. Cincinnati failed to score a touchdown in either of its first two contests, but the offense came to life in Week 3 at Green Bay, jumping out to an early 21-7 lead and controlling that advantage for most of the game before eventually succumbing to a Packers comeback, losing 27-24 in overtime. And in Game 4 last week at Cleveland, the Bengals’ offense erupted for four TDs and a FG in a 31-7 win at FirstEnergy Stadium, earning the team its much-needed first victory.

Media Roundtable: Bengals, Bills put defense on display
They need to do it again and the Media Roundtable says they will Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) when the 1-3 Bengals try to cool off the 3-1 Bills before heading into next week’s bye. Only a dozen players are left from that day six years ago, but the scenario and date (Oct. 2, 2011) are eerily similar. Their only win is on the road against Cleveland and they need to make a stand at home against an AFC team emerging in the post-season hunt.

Northtown Auto billboard references Harambe before Buffalo Bills-Bengals game
The reference may be a bit dated, but Harambe would have loved Northtown Auto's Week 5 billboard. Every week, Northtown Auto has a billboard aimed at the Buffalo Bills' next opponent. In Week 5, Buffalo will take on the Cincinnati Bengals, so Northtown Auto decided to make a reference to Harambe, a gorilla that was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a three year old boy fell into his exhibit back in 2016. The billboard reads, "You can replace Dalton, You can't replace Harambe."

Cincinnati Bengals' road to playoffs starts with Buffalo
This was supposed to be the year of dominance for the Cincinnati Bengals. To some degree, that hasn’t been a total misrepresentation of the truth. The first two weeks of the 2017 campaign were a total washout, from an offensive standpoint. But, the defense has been a bright spot for the team. If the Bengals are going to make a run for the postseason, it has to start on Sunday. When the Buffalo Bills invade Paul Brown Stadium, the only option is a W.

Fay: 9 things we've learned about the Bengals a quarter of the way through the season
The Bengals are at the quarter pole of the season. Four games down, 12 to go. The only numbers that really matter are 1-3. That makes a playoff run difficult but not impossible given that the rest of division and American Football Conference in general doesn’t look overly imposing.

Bengals' Carl Lawson earning respect along with pressures
NFL teams don’t just scout edge rushers. They drool over them. As with any league trend, if you want to know the truth follow draft picks and money. Here are the facts: Defensive end is currently the second-most expensive franchise tag at $16.9 million, only trailing quarterback. No position saw more top five picks expended the last half decade than edge rusher. Eight edge rushers selected tops even quarterback (6) and offensive tackle (5).

Surprising Bills get test in Bengals
First place in the AFC East. A record that's tied for second-best in the NFL. A defense that's stingier than any other in Bills' history so far. It's been quite a start for Buffalo, which heads to Cincinnati to face a team that can bring the Bills back to earth or land with a thud of its own.

AFC North Bytes

Why Duke Johnson isn't the Browns' featured back
Duke Johnson is averaging twice as many yards per carry as Isaiah Crowell, and he's rushed for two touchdowns to Crowell's none. So why isn't he getting a shot as the Browns' featured back? "Like I said the other day, I still believe in Isaiah Crowell,'' coach Hue Jackson said Friday. "Crow is a rhythm runner. He needs to have the ball more. Duke is a jack-of-all-trades. He does a little bit of it all. He catches it, runs with it and does a little bit of it all. We have two fine runners."

Baltimore Ravens: Bold Predictions at Oakland Raiders in Week 5
Statistically the Ravens and Raiders are very similar. Coincidentally both sport (2-2) records. The 2017 Raiders, even with Derek Carr, are not the prolific offense that they were a season ago. The passing game hasn’t produced (sound familiar?) and two-time Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper is struggling with his routes and holding onto the football. He’s collected just 12 passes for 9.2 YPC despite being targeted 31 times. Reports have surfaced that he’s counting his steps while running routes – not exactly the sign of a confident player.

How legendary Penn State LB Jack Ham nearly went unrecruited out of high school
Jack Ham remembers walking off the field of his final game at Massanutten Military Academy in the fall of 1966, thinking he had played his last game of football. Little did he know he was set to begin a journey that would include four Super Bowl rings and eight Pro Bowl selections, eventually seeing him inducted into the Pro Football and College Football halls of fame.

Random Bytes

Re-Grading Every Team's 2017 Offseason Moves
Every NFL team enters the offseason with a shopping list. As each wanders down the free-agency and draft aisles, those needs are checked off and hopefully never spoken of again. Sometimes it works that way. Sometimes you're the Buffalo Bills, a surprisingly competitive team early in 2017 after inserting the right pieces in their defensive backfield. Or sometimes you're the Chicago Bears, a team that actually thought Mike Glennon could be a competent quarterback, and now first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky is set to make his debut already.

Last night’s THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL game featuring New England’s win over Tampa Bay earned an average overnight household rating/share of 11.1/19, up +26%, a significant increase from last year’s 8.8/15 TNF game rating on CBS and NFL Network in Week 5 (Arizona-San Francisco; 10/06/16), according to Nielsen metered market ratings.

Peyton Manning Statue Unveiled Outside of Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium
The Indianapolis Colts unveiled a statue of Peyton Manning outside of Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday in commemoration of the legendary quarterback's historic career.