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Bengals Bytes (9/13): Rotating pressure

The Bengals defensive line is slowly working towards building a solid rotation of their defensive linemen. The Texans won’t be revealing the official starting quarterback for Thursday Night Football. The Cardinals hope to have David Johnson back by Christmas.

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

TDBH: An MVP is born as Anderson rebounds to lead 31-30 win over Jets
As the Bengals reminisce about the 1981 Super Bowl season, their recollections always go back to the first two games. This one at Shea Stadium in New York on a U.S. Open weekend comes a week after head coach Forrest Gregg pulls quarterback Ken Anderson in the first half of the opener at Riverfront Stadium and the Bengals down 21-0 to Seattle. Anderson watches No. 3 QB Turk Schonert leads a wild 27-21 comeback victory with backup Jack Thompson sidelined and then gets caught by surprise when Gregg names Schonert the starter against the Jets after a Labor Day session. Anderson then meets with Gregg two or three times before practice Wednesday and gets his job back.

Slants and screens: Chad, CD, Willie on prelim Hall ballot; Dalton on tips; Eagles pluck Elliott
Chad Johnson is on a wide receiver’s list that includes last year’s finalists Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce as well as first-year candidate Randy Moss. Corey Dillon has the third most yards of the 10 running backs with 11,241, behind only Edgerrin James (12,246) and Fred Taylor (11,695). Dillon and James are the only ones on the list with at least 11,000 yards and a Super Bowl ring. Willie Anderson is one of 21 offensive linemen but just six tackles. Tony Boselli and Joe Jacoby are returning tackle finalists and left tackle Richmond Webb played his final two seasons opposite Anderson with the Bengals in 2001-02.

Matchup of the Game: Watt next for Bengals up front?
Another representative matchup with this one pitting the Bengals’ beleaguered offensive line against the Texans’ star-studded front seven of the NFL’s defending top-ranked defense that has to be fuming about going sack-less in an ugly home loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. Johnson’s second NFL start comes Thursday night against the Texans (8:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5 and NFL Network) in a firestorm stemming from a five-sack opener in the Ravens’ Opening Day shutout. Watt saunters into Paul Brown Stadium mad and healthy and leading a Texans defense that has had the Bengals’ number ever since wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton came into the league in 2011.

Week One Shutout Doesn't Spell Doom
Let’s play “Name that quarterback.” “I went 14-for-28 for 123 yards with 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a passer rating of 22.5 on Opening Day as my team got shutout in a lopsided loss to a division rival.” The answer? Tom Brady in a 31-0 loss to Buffalo to begin the 2003 season.

Top 50 Moments: Bengals Stun Raiders in First Regular Season Game at Riverfront
There is Madden 18, but call this one PB 70 as the Bengals stun John Madden's Super Bowl favorite Raiders in the season opener. The Raiders have lost only two games since Joe Willie's Cinderella Jets beat them in the 1968 AFL title game and both losses have been to the three-year-old Bengals. But this Sept. 20, 1970 game marks more than that. It's the first regular-season football game in Riverfront Stadium, coming just a few months after baseball's All-Star Game and in the middle of the Reds run to the National League pennant that gives the structure quite a christening and a foreshadowing of its rich history.

Houston Texans decline to name Deshaun Watson, Tom Savage Week 2 starter
Texans coach Bill O'Brien on Tuesday declined to name a starting quarterback for Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. All signs, however, point to the Texans starting rookie Deshaun Watson. He took every snap with the first-team offense during the short portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday.

Rookie kicker Jake Elliott signed by the Philadelphia Eagles
A rookie out of Memphis, Elliott converted 78 percent of his field goal tries over four seasons at the collegiate level and holds American Athletic Conference records for career points (445) and made field goals (81). Sturgis suffered a hip flexor injury on the opening kick Sunday against the Washington Redskins and is expected to be out four weeks, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Joe Mixon's fantasy numbers impacted by Bengals' running back rotation
Stay away from the Bengals' running backs in fantasy football...for now. The Bengals had an erratic timeshare going between Jeremy Hill, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard in a loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Combine that with an erratic offense and five turnovers, and it's a recipe for fantasy football disaster.

Bengals Walkthru: Giovani Bernard's big day (Sshhh! Don't tell anyone)
Giovani Bernard dressed quietly on Sunday night, Sept. 10, 2017, in Paul Brown Stadium. It was his first game since Nov. 20, 2016 – his last appearance on the turf in Cincinnati, where he tore his left ACL. Just shy of 10 months. There wasn't much fanfare, though. Few stayed around to talk to him after.

Cincinnati Bengals Beyond The Stripes Week 3 John Ross
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross is our guest tonight on Beyond The Stripes, presented by, live at 7 p.m. at Holy Grail Tavern & Grille at The Banks. Ross, the Bengals' first-round draft pick, is expected to see his first game action Thursday night against the Houston Texans.

A true rotation? Bengals defensive line building toward it
The last two years, Cincinnati Bengal defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has preached rotation in his defense, versatility. Flexibility matters. It can create mismatches, and theoretically, keep starters fresh and able to make game-changing plays. In practice though, especially on the defensive line, it proved much harder to execute.

AFC North Bytes

Le'Veon Bell Will Be Better in Week 2 vs. Minnesota Vikings, Says Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn't going into panic mode over running back Le'Veon Bell's underwhelming showing in the team's 21-18 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Bell's performance level needs to improve "and it will," per's Jeremy Fowler.

Baltimore Ravens put perfect home record against rookie QBs at risk
The Baltimore Ravens present a tough challenge for Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer's first NFL road game. Some might even say it's the ultimate challenge. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are a perfect 5-0 against rookie quarterbacks at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore has held those young passers to a combined two touchdowns and seven interceptions for a dreadful 60.2 passer rating.

Danny Woodhead Reportedly out 4-6 Weeks with Hamstring Injury
Baltimore Ravens running back Danny Woodhead will reportedly miss at least a few games due to a hamstring injury. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the expectation is Woodhead will be out four to six weeks. Rapoport also noted the Ravens will need to make a roster decision in Woodhead's absence but could add Jeremy Langford or Alex Collins to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

Random Bytes

Jaguars vs. Texans: How did Jacksonville pull off the week's biggest upset?
The first NFL Sunday was a dud. The most exciting game might have been the Steelers at Browns. There was lots of bad play, highlighted by the Bengals and Giants offenses, and the entire Colts team. However, there were some positive surprises, none more so than the Jaguars’ total beatdown of the Texans in Houston. It was a completely one-sided game that no one saw coming.

Carson Palmer's Continuing Struggles Threaten to Sink Cardinals' Season
This year was going to be different. After struggling in 2016, veteran quarterback Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals was supposed to rebound to his Pro Bowl form of 2015. Having rested his arm more this offseason than in years past, Palmer was supposed to be rejuvenated in 2017.

NFL1000: Doug Farrar's Week 2 QB Rankings
Thirty NFL teams faced off in Week 1, with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers having their game postponed due to Hurricane Irma. For the teams that did suit up, unspectacular quarterback play was the norm. Through Sunday night's action, just three teams—Chiefs, Rams, Falcons—accounted for more than 300 passing yards, and only the Chiefs and Lions had more than two passing touchdowns.

David Johnson Reportedly to Have Surgery on Wrist Injury, to Miss 2-3 Months
Arizona Cardinals superstar running back David Johnson is undergoing surgery on his wrist this week and is expected to be sidelined for two to three months, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. "It's always a huge blow to lose a top player," head coach Bruce Arians told reporters Monday, per Bob McManaman of "But it's not the end of the world. We've got quality guys on our team, and it's an opportunity for somebody to step up. David Johnson became David Johnson because of somebody's injury."