Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

December 27, 2018 at 1:43 am.


–WR Tyler Boyd did not practice Wednesday due to a sprained MCL in his right knee. He missed last week’s game at Cleveland but head coach Marvin Lewis did not have a definitive update on Boyd, who is a Pittsburgh native and played college football at Pittsburgh.

–CB Dre Kirkpatrick missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury. Kirkpatrick exited last week’s game with the injury and his status will be determined based on his activity level at subsequent practices.

–CB Tony McRae did not practice with a hamstring injury. The injury sidelined McRae last week and he might sit out again.

–LB Vontaze Burfict did not practice Wednesday as he recovers from a concussion. He was concussed for the second time this season in the second quarter last week in Cleveland.

–LB Jordan Evans did not practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game.

–CB Darqueze Dennard was listed on the injury report but was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

–DT Christian Rupp was listed on the injury report with a knee injury but was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

–S Shawn Williams was listed on the injury report with a pectoral injury but was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: TE C.J. Uzomah. In an injury-filled season for the Bengals, Uzomah is among the few players to appear in every game this season. Uzomah made one of the few highlight-reel plays last week by executing a leaping 14-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Uzomah has been dealing with a shoulder injury most of the season and has career highs of 42 receptions, 433 yards, and three touchdowns as he heads into free agency after the season.

GAME PLAN: Look for more of the same this week as the Bengals will continue emphasizing the run game. The Bengals attempted a season-low 13 rushes in the first meeting with Pittsburgh but that was when Andy Dalton and A.J. Green were healthy. This time, with more trust in running back Joe Mixon, the Bengals have rushed 97 times in their last three games.

–Bengals secondary vs. Steelers WRs Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster. Both are over 100 receptions and each torched the Bengals in the last meeting. Smith-Schuster averaged 15.9 yards on seven receptions while Brown had five catches and 105 yards, including the game-winning touchdown.

–Bengals RB Joe Mixon vs. Steelers run defense. Mixon is continuing to get emphasized and this week goes against the league’s sixth-ranked run defense. While the Bengals own 10 100-yard rushing games, its second-lowest total was 62 yards in the first meeting against Pittsburgh. The Steelers have not allowed 100 yards on the ground in the last four games and in 11 games overall.