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Around the AFC North: Bengals Offense Hums Without Stars Joe Mixon, Ja'Marr Chase

Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34) heads into the end zone in front of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34) for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals: After Mixon Suffers Concussion, Perine Shines

The Bengals lost star running back Joe Mixon to a concussion Sunday, but Samaje Perine proved his value again as Mixon's backup.

Perine caught three touchdown passes and ran for 30 yards during a 37-30 victory over Pittsburgh that kept Cincinnati (6-4) one game behind the Ravens (7-3) in the AFC North.

Head Coach Zac Taylor did not give a postgame update on Mixon's status, but the Bengals know they have a capable backup in Perine if Mixon can't play in Week 12 against the Titans. Last season, Perine made a key play during the Bengals' playoff run to the Super Bowl, scoring on a 41-yard touchdown reception in the AFC Championship against the Chiefs.

"He always does that," Taylor said via the team’s website. "You know, it's every role you ask him to play, he's going to do it. Feature back when Joe's out, whether it's playing his role on third down, or some of the other packages we put him in, he's just as reliable as they come. Very dependable. And we don't take him for granted."

The Bengals put up 37 points against the Steelers without Mixon, who left the game after just seven carries,[comma] and star receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who has missed three games with a hip injury. Chase has a chance to play Week 12 against the Titans, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

The Bengals have won four of their last five games and are showing the resiliency it takes to stay in the division race.

"There's nothing we can do about the earlier part of the season and the ones that got away from us." Taylor said. "We can just focus on the present. We congratulated each other in the locker room and let's be ready to move on to next week."

Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt Says Steelers Can't Sulk About Being 3-7

The Steelers are in unfamiliar territory after falling to 3-7, in danger of their first losing season during Mike Tomlin's 16-year run as head coach. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt returned to the field Sunday and was disappointed in the Steelers' defensive performance, surrendering four touchdown passes to Burrow.

Watt had an acrobatic interception during the game, somehow catching a blistering pass from Burrow thrown at point-blank range.

However, the Steelers couldn't stop the Bengals from methodically driving down the field, and Watt gave an honest assessment of where the team's defense is.

"We're not where we want to be, clearly, right now," Watt said via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But sitting here and sulking about it isn't going to do anything. We have to be real with what we put on tape."

The Steelers surrendered touchdown drives of 92 yards and 93 yards in the second half. They visit the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 12, but Pittsburgh needs a victory regardless of the opponent.

"No one is happy, man," rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett said. "Obviously, no one wants to be in this situation. We're going to stick together and get back on track."

Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett Worries Browns Are Wasting Talented Roster

Following Cleveland's 31-23 loss to the Bills, Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett sat alone on the bench for several minutes.

Garrett said he was emersed in thought after Cleveland's sixth loss in its last seven games dropped the team's record to 3-7.

"Just disappointed," said Garrett via Ben Baby of "We're too good of a team to have this record we have. It's frustrating ... a lot of emotions going through your head when you let another one slip away."

The Browns have some elite talent in Garrett, running back Nick Chubb, cornerback Denzel Ward and guard Joel Bitonio – all former Pro Bowl players who are considered among the best at their position. Yet, even with quarterback Deshaun Watson set to return in Week 13 once his 11-game suspension ends, the Browns are a longshot to make a playoff run. Garrett will be 27 years old in December, and he wants to make a Super Bowl run while he's still a dominant defender.

"We have to make sure that we don't waste the talent that we have in its prime right now," Garrett said. "We still have a lot of opportunities left to keep on fighting to put ourselves in position to go to the playoffs. It's not as much in our hands as we want it to be, but it's definitely not out of the conversation yet."

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