Around the NFL  

 

Bengals' Joe Mixon: 'I'm tired of playing not to lose'

Print

The Cincinnati Bengals have dropped four of their last five games and are seeing their season slowly slip away.

Ahead of Sunday's tilt with the Cleveland Browns, running back Joe Mixon intimated that the Bengals have been playing somewhat scared.

"I'm tired of playing not to lose, rather than playing to win," he said, via Elise Jesse of WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. "We just got to go out there, and we got to go win. We've just got to do it instead of just keep talking about it. Just go put it out there and go win."

Mixon didn't mention anything specific that the Bengals have done to playing not to lose, but it won't be hard for Cincinnati fans to point at coach Marvin Lewis as an embodiment of that strategy.

The only Cincy win in the last five games was a 37-34 victory over the sinking Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which Lewis' team watched a big lead disappear. In Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Bengals took an eight-point lead with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter. They wouldn't score another point the rest of the way.

Under Lewis, the Bengals have lacked the ability to bury teams when given a chance. Mixon wasn't explicitly calling out his coach when saying the team needs to get a win, but with Lewis' history, it's hard to read that comment as anything other than a referendum on the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL.

Despite the recent spiral, the 5-5 Bengals still sit in the thick of a jumbled AFC playoff picture. A win against Cleveland could be a boost towards a stretch run. A loss to Baker Mayfield & Co. could put Cincy out of its misery in 2018.

Print