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Bengals Bytes (12/16): Looking for another bounce back

The Bengals haven’t followed up blowout losses with another loss often, and they will look to avoid that this week against the Vikings.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals looking for another bounce back vs Vikings
The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t had many losses in Marvin Lewis’ 15 years like the 33-7 rout they suffered Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Even rarer have been back-to-back clunkers, which is what the Bengals will be trying to avoid Sunday in Minnesota. Since the Andy Dalton and A.J. Green era began in 2011, the Bengals have lost nine games by at least 15 points. Of the previous eight, only two were followed by another loss.

Despite the circumstances, AJ McCarron happy to play again for Cincinnati Bengals
Quarterback AJ McCarron got the word he was going into the Cincinnati Bengals' game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday with less than five minutes to play. The former St. Paul's and Alabama standout hadn't done anything more in an NFL regular-season game than a handful of mop-up handoffs since 2015, when he started three regular-season games and a playoff contest with Andy Dalton down with a broken thumb.

Cincinnati Bengals injury report for Minnesota Vikings game
With all three starting linebackers injured and unavailable for Sunday’s game at Minnesota, the Cincinnati Bengals placed Kevin Minter on season-ending Injured Reserve and promoted linebacker Brandon Bell from the practice squad.

Bengals' Vontaze Burfict: Out for Week 15
Burfict (concussion) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Vikings, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports. Though Burfict took a step forward in his recovery from the concussion by returning to practice Thursday in a limited fashion, the Bengals determined he wasn't on track to clear the NFL's protocol for head injuries before Sunday.

TDBH: Bengals extend Coslet while closing exiting Oilers from Astrodome
Before the last Oilers’ game ever in the Astrodome, Bengals president Mike Brown makes his first move of the offseason when he announces he has rewarded offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet with a four-year extension and an option for a fifth year as the club’s seventh head coach. Brown then sits back with the rest of the smallest crowd ever to watch the Bengals up their record to 6-2 under Coslet with a 21-13 victory over the distracted Oilers behind a defense that picks off Oilers quarterback Chris Chandler three times in the second half. It’s the same show that Brown has been watching since he relieved head coach Dave Shula and replaced him with Coslet Oct. 21, the day after the Bengals fell to 1-6.

Matchup of the Game: battle of the blueprint
Mike Zimmer said it. In his reunion with the Cincinnati scribes this week via conference call, he allowed when he watched tape of the Bengals he said it was like watching his Vikings play defense. Of course it should.

Top 50 Moments: Bengals blank NFC Central champ Vikes to eye AFC Central lead
The rampaging Vikings are 10-1, already NFC Central champs, and headed to the Super Bowl next month. But a funny thing happened on the way to the big game on Dec. 2, 1973 at Riverfront Stadium. They run into the Bengals’ defensive juggernaut locked in a desperate three-way race in the AFC Central and are shut out in stunning fashion for the first time in 12 years and 160 games, 27-0, as the 8-4 Bengals are poised to go into next week’s game against the Browns tied with the Steelers for first place and barely in front of 7-3-2 Cleveland. After Bengals cornerbacks Ken Riley and Lemar Parrish shut out dangerous wide receiver John Gilliam and the front seven holds presumptive NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Chuck Foreman to 36 yards rushing and chases Hall-of-Fame scrambler Fran Tarkenton out of the pocket to the bench in the fourth quarter, head coach Paul Brown realizes the heavily-favored Vikes were actually at a disadvantage.

Quick hits: Lewis says, 'My future is Sunday'; Coach blasts energy crisis; Mixon questionable
If the Marvin Lewis Era is down to its last three games, you wouldn’t know it. He checked in with the media after Friday’s walk-through and shrugged off any questions about a future with a contract. “My future is Sunday. Just win the game,” Lewis said. “You get paid to do a job.”

Dig deep and Zimmer still at heart of Bengals defense
This how Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer changed the Bengals’ culture on defense: Carlos Dunlap won’t pick up the phone to call Zimmer. But he’ll still sing his praises. “Not a very friendly guy,” Dunlap recalled this week. “I feel like he helped me as a young player. Very blunt. He told me what I needed to work on. There was no gray area. Very adamant. You won’t play until you fix it. There’s your motivation.”

AFC North Bytes

Antonio Brown: 'It's not about respect' vs. the Patriots
Indifferent to personnel, recent history and lofty ideas of reverence for the New England Patriots Antonio Brown very much just wants to play them now. "It's not about respect, it's about getting the job done," Brown said. "And we have a job to do this weekend."

Browns' John Dorsey: Cutting Kenny Britt was 'easy' and he might 'have a higher opinion of himself' | cleveland.com
John Dorsey revealed on that waiving Kenny Britt on his first full day as Browns GM Friday was a no-brainer. "I have no problem making that decision,'' Dorsey said today on "The Really Big Show'' with Aaron Goldhammer on WKNR 850, a radio partner of the Browns. "From a cultural standpoint I don't think he fits in the prototypical character point of what I'm looking for in terms of a leader. He did not live up to his expectations as a player.''

Random Bytes

Leonard Fournette injury news: Jaguars RB misses practice again
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette missed his third straight practice Thursday and is officially listed as questionable for Jacksonville's crucial game against the Texans on Sunday. Fournette is dealing with a quad injury that he picked up during Jacksonville's 30-24 victory over the Seahawks last week. In that game, Fournette rushed 14 times for 101 yards, and he's racked up 923 yards and eight rushing touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

Sammy Watkins Dropped the Diva Attitude and Got His Career Back on Track in L.A.
Fires rage all around him with no end in sight. Sammy Watkins is, quite literally, in the eye of a storm. About 25 miles west, the Thomas Fire destroys 237,500 (and counting) acres of forest. To the east, 35 miles away, the Creek Fire scorches more than 15,000 acres. To the southeast, 40 miles away, the Skirball Fire shuts down part of Highway 405.

Jerry Richardson Under Investigation After Allegations of Workplace Misconduct
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is being investigated after allegations of workplace misconduct were made against him. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond issued a statement about the investigation into allegations against Richardson, via the team's official website