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Bengals Bytes (12/14): Marvin Lewis should take the blame for lack of energy

It was clear that Bengals just didn’t have it on Sunday against the Bears, and Marvin Lewis deserves a lot of the blame for that. Roger Goodell says this contract extension will be his last.

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Linebacker Rey Maualuga visits Cincinnati Bengals
ESPN’s Field Yates reported that free-agent linebacker Rey Maualuga visited the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday afternoon. Maualuga was the Bengals’ second-round pick in 2009. In eight seasons with Cincinnati, he had 353 tackles (10th in franchise history), four sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and seven interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals' lack of energy starts with Marvin Lewis
Watching the Cincinnati Bengals play football can really be a chore. It’s either due to mistakes or horrendous offensive game plans.There’s even the occasional lack of concentration (just kidding). But, lately, there seems to be no fire or passion when they play the game. And in a sport that demands the emotional equivalent of a hard rock concert, there’s no room for being flat. Yet, that seems to be the case with Marvin Lewis’ team.

5 Vikings-Bengals Storylines to Watch
The Vikings came up just short of clinching the NFC North division championship last week in Carolina, but they have another chance to do it this Sunday at home against the Bengals. A 10-2 start to the season that included a 3-1 division record put the Vikings in position to control their own destiny in the NFC North over the final month of the season. While the Vikings have bigger goals in mind than just winning the division, those bigger-picture goals are much more attainable from the perch of a division championship than from the starting place of a road playoff game in the Wild Card round.

Bengals' streak of defensive stinginess gets flattened
Coach Marvin Lewis couldn't find words to describe how his team came apart. His players had no problem picking out the adjectives. "This was pretty bad," defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. "It was embarrassing to put that up there and come out like that. It's not what I expected."

Tributes begin for Pete Brown
The Bengals lost one of the architects of Paul Brown’s record-breaking expansion team of 1968 and the Super Bowl teams of the 1980s with Tuesday’s death of senior vice president for player personnel Pete Brown.

'The best ability is reliability'
Pete Brown had not been gone a day, but as Tuesday began to fade into dinner Duke Tobin can almost see him pulling an index card out of his shirt pocket and writing down one of his signature expressions. “The best ability is reliability. And if it’s not reliability, its availability,” Tobin is saying in the middle of preparing for the next draft. “There was no one more reliable and available than Pete Brown. He was more than a mentor and he was a great mentor. He was my friend. And he’s someone who was easy to be a friend with.”

TDBH: Bengals deflate Johnny Football, 30-0
With the season on the line, the Bengals defense makes a money grab today when they hijack Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel’s first NFL start in Cincinnati’s third greatest stand in franchise history during the 30-0 victory that puts them a win away from their fourth straight postseason with two games left. While posting their first shutout in six years, the Bengals put Manziel through a NFL 101 clinic and hold the Browns to a paltry 107 yards. They sack him three times, hit him six times, give him 2.6 yards per on five carries, and pick him twice while all the while giving the Manziel money sign.

Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 12/13
Minnesota started the season 2-2 and then won eight games, until last week’s game. Over that time, the quarterback has really done a great job of taking care of the ball. He’s running the offense well, and they’re pretty balanced. (Vikings WR) Adam Thielen has had a very fine season, and when Diggs (Vikings WR Stefon Diggs) was out, he kind of picked up the slack. Rudolph (Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph) has had a strong season, and they’re doing a good job of moving guys in and out. They’re being very productive offensively.

Quick hits: Zim endorses Marv;No Tez, Dre; Down to 3 backers
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis’ status may be shrouded in the unknown, but there’s no question where his old defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer comes down on it. “Marvin has done some unbelievable things for that organization,” Zimmer said Wednesday during his conference call with the Cincinnati media. “He deserves to be there as long as he wants to be in my opinion.”

Tributes begin for Pete Brown
The Bengals lost one of the architects of Paul Brown’s record-breaking expansion team of 1968 and the Super Bowl teams of the 1980s with Tuesday’s death of senior vice president for player personnel Pete Brown. After Bengals president Mike Brown announced the death of his younger brother Wednesday morning, reaction began to pour into Paul Brown Stadium.

Gil Brandt, draft and former Cowboys player personnel chief: "An all-around class guy that probably never got credit for as much as he did and the things he accomplished … I have the utmost respect for him."

Cincinnati Bengals co-founder Pete Brown dies at age 74
Pete Brown, who co-founded the Cincinnati Bengals along with his father, Paul, and brother Mike, died Tuesday at age 74. Brown was the team's senior vice president for player personnel. "Pete was the quiet one but his talent spoke volumes," Mike Brown said in a statement. "Pete was more prone to action than talk, and his contributions to the Bengals were significant. He was a fine scout and judge of prospects, a wonderful business partner and an even better brother and family member. Everyone who knew Pete cared about him and respected him. I feel his loss deeply."

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Bengals select QB Baker Mayfield to replace Andy Dalton
Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson will be the most polarizing prospects in the 2018 draft class, and with an assortment of teams in need of a franchise signal-caller, it will be fascinating to watch how draft night unfolds regarding these two unconventional yet ridiculously productive quarterbacks. As is typically the case, the teams with the first few picks will be in the quarterback market, but there are other organizations picking later in Round 1 that'll be interested in upgrading their signal-caller spot.

AFC North Bytes

Alex Collins Has Given the Ravens’ Offense New Life
I ask this question with genuine incredulity, because for most of the season, Joe Flacco, with a 13-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 78.0 passer rating, has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but: Is … is the Ravens’ offense … good now? That would’ve been a laughable concept early in the year, but over the past seven weeks, just one team in the NFL, the NFC’s top-seeded Eagles, has averaged more than Baltimore’s 31.8 points per game.

Browns' DeShone Kizer not worried about a top draft pick or veteran QB beating him out in '18
DeShone Kizer isn't worried about a Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield coming in and taking his job in 2018. "With the abilities that I have, I know that if I can go out there and continue to get better and perfect the craft that I have, there shouldn't be a worry out there,'' he said. "There's nothing I can't do if I put my mind to it and continue to work on it.

Le'Veon Bell on facing the Patriots: 'This is the game everybody has been waiting to see'
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell knows Sunday's game against the New England Patriots has been circled on plenty of calendars since before the season started. "This is the game everybody has been waiting to see," Bell said. "It's the No. 1 and 2 teams in the AFC going at it head-to-head."

Random Bytes

Roger Goodell's New Contract to Be Last, Will Help Search for Next Commissioner
Roger Goodell's tenure as NFL commissioner will come to an end when his contract expires after the 2024 season. Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, league spokesman Joe Lockhart said Goodell has made it clear his new five-year contract extension will be his last, and Goodell will help in the process to find his successor.

Ezekiel Elliott Bet Eric Dickerson He Gains 200 Yards in Return from Suspension
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is awaiting his return to the field after a six-game suspension, and he is apparently confident he will come back strong. The Cowboys running back even made a bold prediction to Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.

John Mara Says He Wants Eli Manning Back with Giants Next Season
Manning, 36, has spent his entire career with the Giants and served as the team's starter since November of his rookie season of 2004. He was benched for a game in Week 13 this year, though the backlash to that move was so severe the Giants reinstated him as the starter a week later. Both head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were fired the next week, though Mara said the Manning benching didn't play a part in that decision.