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Flying Pigskin Podcast: Bengals’ running game finally gets going

With the running game finally living up to expectations, can it carry the Bengals to a playoff berth?

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon bursts into the secondary
Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Joe Mixon finally gave Cincinnati Bengals fans a little taste of what they had been hoping for when he was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. And his breakout game, the first 100-yard game of his young career, surprisingly came against one of the better rush defenses in the NFL.

This was the main topic in this week’s version of The Flying Pigskin podcast, which was hosted by Tanya O’Rourke and featured panellists Scott Kyser and Keenan Singleton. The show also featured Mo Egger, the host of Sports Talk on 1530 AM, and myself, who was back and coming to you from my new home in Creek, Nebraska.

You can listen to this week’s show at any time, and be sure to tune in to get all of the latest news and commentary on your Cincinnati Bengals.

With the running game finally living up to expectations, the real question is whether the Bengals will be able to take what they did Sunday, albeit against the worst team in the land, and apply it to the next five games. If they can, there is no telling how good this offense can become.

The offensive line was finally able to open some holes up front, and Mixon made the most of nearly every opportunity.

“It’s not about me,” Mixon said after the game. “It’s about the people in front of me. The line did a hell of a job blocking downfield.”

And that degree of effectiveness will have to continue if Cincinnati hopes to come away with victories in four of its last five games, which is probably what it will take to make the playoffs with a record of 9-7.

And quarterback Andy Dalton will have to continue protecting the football. Dalton has not thrown an interception since the first time the Bengals took on Pittsburgh, and his two interceptions in that game spelled doom for Cincinnati’s chances of victory. Dalton has the longest streak in the NFL of attempted passes thrown without an interception at 140, and has tossed just four interceptions in his last nine games.

After Pittsburgh on Monday night, the Bengals take on Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit and Baltimore. Cincinnati has the fourth-toughest remaining schedule in the NFL with its opponents boasting a combined record of 33-22. The Bengals’ five victories this season have come against teams with a combined record of 12-43.

Even more telling is the fact the Cincinnati has a combined record of 4-12 over the last three years in games in which it was the underdog. The Bengals will probably be underdogs in three of the last five games they play.

And the panel does not expect that to change against the Steelers. Cincinnati has not shown that it is capable of beating a good team, and “they haven’t even beaten a bad team good.”

If the Bengals can pull it off, it may just be enough to save Marvin Lewis’ job, at least for another year. But, if Cincinnati does manage to finish the season with a record of 9-7 and earn yet another playoff berth, it will undoubtedly have been Lewis’ best coaching job of his career and he will have earned another shot.

Please join us on twitter @flying_pigskin and let us know what you think about this latest edition of the Bengals, and their chances of making the playoffs after such a miserable start.

You can also tweet Keenan directly @CKJMSingleton, or contact Tonya @TonyaORourke. In addition, you can now call in and leave a voicemail at 513-449-0716.

Be sure to tune in to The Flying Pigskin podcast this week and every week. You can find us anywhere podcasts are available, or go to Stitcher or Google Play. The show normally airs live every Monday afternoon, but will be heard on Tuesday this coming week after the Monday night game against the Steelers. Who Dey! Who Dey All Day!