Career day for Mixon leads Bengals to first win of season

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Josh Jones (29) in the second half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs for a touchdown in front of Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Josh Jones (29) in the second half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: AP

Cincinnati tops Jacksonville 33-25

Joe Mixon didn’t have a touchdown entering Week 4, and he was questionable Saturday with a chest injury.

The Cincinnati Bengals finally got the running game going, though, and a career day for Mixon helped them to their first win of the season. Mixon rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass, and the Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 33-25, on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

It was the first three-touchdown game of Mixon’s career. The Bengals are now 4-0 in games in which he scores multiple touchdowns. The fourth-year player has totaled six touchdowns in the three wins under Zac Taylor, and he was just shy of his best single-game rushing total, following a 162-yard effort in the finale against the Browns last year.

The Bengals trailed 13-10 at halftime, after struggling with redzone inefficiency in the first half and giving up a field goal with six seconds left in the second quarter. Cincinnati missed out on two touchdown opportunities in the first half, then came back to tie the game with 56 seconds left in the second quarter -- on Mixon’s touchdown catch -- only to give up a 20-yard field goal just before the break.

For the first time this season, Cincinnati received the kickoff coming out of halftime and Mixon didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the chance to swing the momentum. He ran around the right end for a 34-yard touchdown on the first drive, then ran up the middle on third-and-1 for a 23-yard score on the next drive, extending the Bengals lead to 24-13 for its largest cushion of the season.

With the success of the running game came less pressure on Burrow, as expected. Facing a young defensive line, Burrow wasn’t sacked until he took one with 2:49 left, and he became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to have three consecutive 300-yard games.

Burrow completed 25 of 36 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown with one interception. The Bengals didn’t reach the red zone until late in the fourth quarter, which resulted in one of three field goals from Randy Bullock over the final 19 minutes. Jacksonville cut the deficit to eight points with 6:14 left, failing to get in on a two-point conversion, and the teams traded a field goal each in the last two minutes.

Earlier in the game, Cincinnati struggled leaving points off the board. Cincinnati had a Tyler Boyd touchdown negated by a Trey Hopkins hold and settled for a 35-yard field goal that Bullock pushed through for a 3-0 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter. The Jaguars responded with a touchdown drive, capped by an 11-yard pass from Minshew to D.J. Chark, to take a 7-3 advantage at the end of the quarter.

Then, Cincinnati reached the red zone again only for Burrow to be intercepted in the endzone on a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, a play that normally would have gone to a Mixon carry. Drew Sample seemed to have his hands on the ball but had it ripped away by Myles Jack as he was hitting the ground.

Jacksonville extended its lead with a 32-yard field goal from Aldrick Rosas on the next drive after former Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was stopped well short of a first down on a third-and-14 play. The Bengals tied the game at 10 with just under a minute left in the half when Mixon caught a short pass and hurdled over a defender to get into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown reception.

The defense had some big plays early. Jessie Bates jumped a route to pop the ball in the air on a Minshew pass, and Jordan Evans, filling in for concussed linebacker Logan Wilson, picked it off to put the Bengals on the Jacksonville 43-yard line. However, the offense couldn’t make anything of the good field position, going three and out after A.J. Green couldn’t come up with the reception on a deep ball Burrow threw on the run.

Carlos Dunlap and D.J. Reader stopped Minshew on a third-down scramble, and the Jaguars elected to attempt a 48-yard field goal on fourth-and-2 from the 30. Rosas, who replaced injured kicker Stephen Hauschka, missed wide left to keep the game scoreless with 6:38 left in the first quarter.