As the saying goes, save your best for last.
That’s exactly what Joe Mixon did in 2019.
Mixon struggled heavily to start the season, as did the Bengals. Opening up the season a pitiful 0-12, fans had lost hope in this team. Even at their worst, no one was blaming the AFC’s leading rusher from 2018.
However, he took it upon himself to take his game to the next level after recording just one 100-yard performance through the first 12 games. The last five outings for Cincinnati, Mixon made his presence felt, helping lead the Bengals to a 2-3 record to end a forgettable season.
He recorded three games of 130-plus yards in those final five. He was saving his best for last as he put up a season-high 162 yards on the Browns in a home Week 17 victory. Mixon also found the end zone twice.
Let’s just say Bengals head coach Zac Taylor noticed the effort from his star running back. Following the game, Taylor noted that Mixon was “on a mission” from the start, also crediting the team’s offense line which has struggled the bulk of the season.
“Again, Joe, you saw him running through some people today. He was on a mission, and that’s a credit to the guys up front. And that’s a credit to (offensive line coach) Jim Turner, and the guys that put together that run plan, you know? We all felt very good about what we were going to go out and do, and we went out and executed it.”
With this performance, Mixon topped not only 1,000 yards but 1,100. While he didn’t quite hit his total from a season ago, Mixon proved that he still has it. With that should be a much-improved unit next season, Mixon may still have his best yet to come.