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Joe Mixon’s career day vs. Browns highlights his midseason turnaround

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Mixon had a career high in rushing yards and receiving yards against the Browns.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bengals played a sloppy game against the Browns, but Joe Mixon had nothing to do with said sloppiness.

Mixon rushed 23 times with a long of 26 yards; both of those figures are his second highest of the season. He also rushed for 146 yards, averaged 6.3 yards a carry, and gained 40 receiving yards. Those are all season highs.

In fact, his 146 rushing yards and 186 yards from scrimmage are both career highs. He didn’t even eclipse those mark last year when he led the AFC in rushing. Mixon may have played the best football of his career this past week, but it undoubtedly took him a while to get going.

Mixon had a disastrous beginning of the season with 16 carries for 27 yards in his first two games. He got going against the Bills, but didn’t even hit his stride until after the bye week. When Zac Taylor benched Andy Dalton, he knew that he had to do all he could to help Ryan Finley. So Mixon’s role in the offense became essential.

Since Finley’s debut in Week 10, Mixon has run the ball 105 times for 469 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. That averages to 21 carries a game for almost 94 yards. Compare that to his first eight games, when he only had 101 carries (less than 13 per game) and 320 yards (40 per game).

With three games to go in the second half of the season, Mixon has already far surpassed his production his production from the first half.

Will Mixon become the first Bengals running back since the late Cedric Benson to go for 1,000 yards two seasons in a row? He only needs 211 more yards, so it’s entirely possible.

If you extrapolate from his season total, it would take 56 more carries based off of his average 3.8 yards per attempt. That means he could do it if he got 19 carries in each of the next three games, which would be three more than his season average.

But if you take his second half resurgence into account, then it would only take 47 carries. That would only require 16 carries a game.

Mixon is just about the only thing that has gone right for this team in the last few weeks. If Mixon continues this performance through his next season, he will be a very rich man whether he is with the Bengals or not.