Even though he is a rookie running back in the middle of a backfield full of running backs of similar draft pedigree, Cincinnati Bengals rookie second-rounder Joe Mixon was not happy with the number of touches that he got in the loss to the Steelers on Sunday.
Mixon had just seven carries in that game, all in the first half, but he produced 48 yards, or nearly seven yards per carry, for his efforts. Granted, more than half of his yardage came on one 25-yard run. He also had three receptions for another 20 yards, totaling 68 yards on 10 touches.
“Yeah, that’s frustrating”, he said about the scarcity of his opportunities in the second half, in which they opened trailing by six. “I felt like Bell got the ball 35 times. I get it seven. All in the first half then don’t touch the ball again”.
He did fail to mention that he was averaging just 2.8 yards per carry over the course of his first five games, and still just 3.2 yards on the season after that. Though the offensive line has not been blocking well, either, as attested to by the low yards per carry of all the running backs.
“Jeremy got one touch in the second half”, Mixon went on, detailing his grievances. “It was frustrating to us running backs. We are in the room and feel like we are a part of the offense. If it worked in the first half why not do it in the second?”
In response to those remarks, Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis said that the rookie needed to “show a little maturity”. But this is the same person that also just walked out of the press conference after he was asked about going for it on fourth down, so perhaps it should be taken with a grain of salt?
“I can’t do nothing but tip my hat off to them”, he said of his offensive line, complimenting his teammates while insinuating that the issue was instead the play selection. “They did a great job. Receivers did a great job. We just have to run the ball in the second half”.
Lewis was asked about why Mixon didn’t see the ball in the second half, and why they stopped running generally. He noted that Mixon was in the game in the third quarter, but said, “whatever plays are called are called”, adding, “we are not going to create a run when we are down by 12 or 15”.
“I can’t showcase nothing if I don’t get the ball. There’s nothing else I can say”, Mixon concluded. Previously, he stated his believe that he could do more with the 35 touches that Bell got than the two-time All-Pro managed to do. He did not mention that four of his seven carries went for 1, 1, 2, and 0 yards.