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Bengals' Joe Mixon: 'Give it 100 percent or stay home'

The Cincinnati Bengals are at a crossroad with the 2018 campaign.

After losing three straight games and starting quarterback Andy Dalton for the season with a thumb injury, the Bengals enter the final stretch of the season at 5-6 and losing ground in the postseason chase.

Player moods in the locker room could be adversely affected if the situation plummets further with five games remaining on the schedule.

Running back Joe Mixon, however, won't be among those to lack full effort every week.

"You're going to know who is going to let up and (who will) go play 100 percent," Mixon said, via Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "You're going to know who's shutting it down. At the end of the day, it's how bad do you want it? Either go out and give it 100 or stay home. Don't show up."

The second-year pro won't ever be accused of lacking effort, as he often displays emotion and energy on any given play with hopes teammates feed off him.

Unfortunately, things haven't gone the Bengals' way during the losing streak, which includes two blowout losses and a span where opponents have outscored Cincinnati 110-55.

"I try to do whatever I can to bring my teammates along on to the level of play that I feel like we can play at," Mixon told reporters, via the Bengals' official website. "It's been frustrating because we haven't as a whole 11 people on offense, but at the same time, like, a lot of people, they look at me as the spark.

"So, I take it upon myself and I take it personally to I got to go make that play and I got to get my team going. And when I do that, everybody feeds off of it whether it's offense or defense. No matter how tough the game is going, I'm never going to quit. I don't care how much we're down, I don't care how much we're up, I'm still trying to do the same thing from start to finish."

Whatever the outcome Mixon desires from his teammates the rest of the way, the Bengals will need to do it with Jeff Driskel in place of Dalton, who is among 13 players placed on injured reserve this season.

Nevertheless, Mixon pointed out the next-man up scenario happens in the NFL and it's up to the Bengals to overcome the adversity by finding a way to win.

"At the end of the day, whether whoever's behind you or whatever position, you got to be able to come in and step up right away, know the offense, know the defense, special teams, every three parts to the game," Mixon said. "It's that important, but unfortunately, we had some mishaps happen and we got to figure out a way to get through that."

Cincinnati's path to close the season won't be easy, as the Bengals face a dangerous Denver Broncos team in Week 13, followed by matchups against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14, Oakland Raiders in Week 15, Cleveland Browns in Week 16 and the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17.

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