With a decent game from Joe Burrow, and a solid game from this defensive unit, one thing however did not take a step forward; the running game.
On the night, the Bengals ran for 69 yards on 28 carries (24 carries by Joe Mixon), and a touchdown. The big number however is the yards per carry average, which ended the night at an abysmal 2.5 yards per attempt.
Now the big question becomes; how do they turn this around?
Over the start of this season, we have preached about the play of the offensive line, as they allowed 16 sacks through the first four games of the season. Despite that number, there also needs to be a push to create holes for Mixon and this running back group.
We did see some flashes Thursday on several different carries, but the majority were just swallowed up by the Dolphins before the backs could get going downhill.
On the flip side, however, the running backs also have to find the holes created and take advantage.
Over his career, Mixon has consistently shown that he is a top-tier running back in the NFL, which is why fans shouldn’t worry too much about if this will turn around. Once this new look o-line gets some more reps under their belt as a unit, it should change.
But with an offense that relies so heavily on the play-action to get this talented receiving core open in space, not having that run game is going to only make things harder for Burrow and the receivers.