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Bengals Bytes (11/24): Marvin Lewis relies on deep NFL friendships

Marvin Lewis has been the head coach for the Bengals for a long time, and he has made plenty of friendships with coaches during that time. It has something he has come to rely upon to get through the tough times.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

From The Vault: Do Cincinnati Bengals owe their name to a stove?
To hear Hal Pennington tell it, the Cincinnati Bengals, founded by football great Paul Brown some 50 years ago, owe their name to a stove in Pennington’s mother’s kitchen. The story goes back 80 years to when Pennington formed and coached the original Cincinnati Bengals in 1937 – when Brown was still coaching at Massillon Washington High School in northeast Ohio.

What Cincinnati Bengals fans should be thankful for
With the holiday season officially upon us, it is a great time to appreciate all that we have to be thankful for. For some NFL fans, there are more things to be thankful for than for others. With the Bengals currently at a mediocre 4-6 it may seem like there’s nothing to be thankful for. However, there are still at least a few things to be thankful for. Here are the top three.

TDBH: Ex-semi pro fullback outclasses Chiefs
For just the second time in the Bengals’ 48 all-time home dates they have to negotiate rain and they respond with a defensive torrent that holds the Chiefs to 34 rushing yards on 15 carries in today’s surprisingly easy 33-6 victory over the Riverfront Stadium rainbow. After his duel with fellow Hall-of-Fame coach Hank Stram, Bengals head man Paul Brown shakes his head reflecting on the Chiefs’ 42-34 victory just six days before against Denver. “I had no idea things were going to break open for us the way they did,” Brown says. “I saw these guys on TV Monday night and they looked like world beaters on offense. I just don’t get it.”

Matchup of the Game: Coaching frat bonds
Lewis has opposed his assistant coaches who have become head coaches six times and has yet to lose. He’s played no one more than Jackson but when they meet for the fourth time Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in the building named for the man that coached both their teams, it might as well be for the first time. “That's my guy,” Jackson says simply from Cleveland Wednesday, speaking familiarly with the Cincinnati media corps via conference call. “You know that. I have a lot of respect for him, and he's a tremendous football coach, person, brother. He's a good dude.”

Top 50 Moments: Stanford Jennings Returns Kickoff in Super Bowl XXIII
Call it the high tide of Bengaldom as the third quarter closes on the beaches of Miami. Running back Stanford Jennings has just raced 93 yards to return the second-ever Super Bowl kickoff for a touchdown and the Bengals have overcome a crippling injury to Pro Bowl nose tackle Tim Krumrie and the shocking Super Eve drug suspension of fullback Stanley Wilson to lead the favored Niners, 13-6, heading into the fourth quarter before a bewildered crowd at Joe Robbie Stadium trying to digest the stunning events of Super Bowl XXIII.

Fantasy Forecast: Week 12
The good, and bad, thing about fantasy football is you know by around Week 4 if you did well in the draft, and have a chance to make the playoffs. Or, if you missed the mark and are on the outside, looking in, on the post-season. With Week 12 at our feet, are either in, out, or in the final rounds of the fight for that last playoff spot.

Sam Wyche, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson share heartfelt bond
Sam Wyche was literally on the verge of death when a tall, dominating figure entered his hospital room 14 months ago. The man walked past a large, comfortable chair and asked the 71-year-old who coached the Cincinnati Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII to move over so he could sit next to him. It was Jerry Richardson.

Marvin Lewis' deep NFL friendships have helped him through tough times
It's no secret how close Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Browns counterpart Hue Jackson have remained since Jackson left Cincinnati to take the position in Cleveland. Except for the two weeks their teams play, the longtime friends usually have a weekly phone appointment.

Bengals notes: Special teams struggles, Joe Mixon matures
It’s been a rough five weeks for the Cincinnati Bengals special teams unit, with uncharacteristic breakdowns in protections, coverages and a disturbing reoccurrence of missed kicks. The first miscue happened back on Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh, when the Bengals schemed up a punt return look to force the Steelers to throw a fake late in the game. It worked, in that the Steelers did, indeed, have personal protector Robert Golden throw the ball. The problem was the Bengals didn’t execute their half of the play. The result was a 44-yard completion on 4th-and-7 that set up a Steelers’ field goal.

Bengals' offense having hard time staying on field
Stringing two first downs together in a drive has never been more of a challenge for the Bengals, who head into the final stretch of the season trying to stay in contention despite an offense that ranks among the worst in franchise history.

Bengals' William Jackson III: Full practice participant
Jackson normally provides depth to the Bengals secondary, but with Darqueze Dennard battling a knee injury, he could see an even higher snap count. Still, the second-year pro has accrued 14 tackles, one sack, seven pass breakups and one interception return in his limited role. If Dennard is unable to play, see Jackson as a high-risk, high reward and cheap option for Week 12.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens Linebacker Matthew Judon Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week
Don’t be surprised if this is just the start of Matthew Judon’s awards collection. The Ravens’ second-year outside linebacker was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after Baltimore’s 23-0 shutout win in Green Bay. It’s the first weekly award of his career, and it comes midway through his first year as a starter.

#HeyTony: Which quarterback should the Browns pursue in free agency?
Three years into the New Browns Order and we’re still debating which quarterbacks to pursue. After burning through Robert Griffin, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and DeShone Kizer? Well, Kirk Cousins and AJ McCarron are the obvious choices. Tyrod Taylor, when he is set free by Buffalo, would be another. I have written that if the present organization returns intact, there will be a clash between the analytics department (Taylor) and coaching staff (McCarron), which will paralyze the organization and result in a polarized football department no matter which side wins.

Injuries More Frustrating Than Drops When It Comes To Vance McDonald
I always find it somewhat dismaying when a player’s scouting report ends up matching the reality in a negative way. In Vance McDonald, the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired a talented tight end who has been marked for both dropped passes and frequent injury concerns, and we have certainly seen both of those traits present over the course of the 10 games played this year.

Random Bytes

Matthew Stafford sets NFL record for most passing yards by a QB under 30
Since they took the quarterback first overall in the 2009 draft, Stafford has gone on to set every major passing record in team history before his 30th birthday. He became the fastest QB in NFL history to 20,000 yards, and 25,000 yards, and 30,000 yards. And on Thanksgiving, he did it again, becoming the all-time leading passer in NFL history for a quarterback under 30 years old.

Case Keenum Has Answered Vikings' QB Question, so What Comes Next?
The Minnesota Vikings have what you would call a gorgeous predicament. On the bench is a bright young talent named Teddy Bridgewater. You may have heard of him. He's the future of this franchise at quarterback. Probably. Without question. Right?

Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones holds closed-door meeting with Cowboys after blowout loss, says Garrett's job is still safe
In fact, it seemed downright ominous when Jerry Jones' head security man walked out of the locker room and started waving at some straggling players to hurry up. "Jerry wants to meet with y'all," he told them, some slow to get in the locker room because they had traded jerseys with some Chargers players.

Resurgent Jamison Crowder Key to Washington's Scant Playoff Hopes
Staying awake for the final leg of a nearly 12-hour Thanksgiving Day football odyssey can be challenging enough while fighting off a turkey-induced slumber. The New York Giants and Washington Redskins didn't make that task any easier in their sloppy, mistake-filled contest. The Redskins rose from the ruins of a dreary march to the finish of a holiday tripleheader to prevail 20-10 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.