How will the Bengals react with Joe Mixon out for 2-4 weeks?
When news of Joe Mixon’s surgery broke you could hear Bengals fans everywhere start to worry about what this means for the season. While we learned slightly optimistic news that the surgery could sideline him as little as one game, the news still stung. Mixon, who was on pace to rush for over 1,400 yards this year, has been a key piece to the Bengals offense. He has been the Bengals three down back. Now, suddenly, all eyes turn to a familiar face, Giovani Bernard.
Gio is no stranger, now in his sixth NFL season, all with the Bengals. Gio has never been a typical three down between the tackle runner, but instead has found his success doing both running and receiving. In his first three seasons as a pro, Gio totalled over 1,000 scrimmage yards per season, as well as a combined 17 touchdowns from 2013 through 2015. Production dipped in 2016 and 2017, due to Gio seeing less touches, but he has remained just as effective when given the chance. Now with Mixon out, Gio will again prove his worth and show just why the Bengals have kept him around.
In his six seasons, Gio has averaged over four yards a carry and around nine yards per catch. At just 5’9”, Gio is electric and very elusive. Last year through a four game stretch when Mixon was injured, we saw four games in which Gio had at least 10 carries. In those 4 games he averaged over 70 rushing yards per game, which would put him on pace for over 1,140 yards rushing over a 16 game season. He also added 18 receptions in those 4 games. Gio is one of the most underrated backs in the league and has proven he can carry the load for an offense. The offense will no doubt be a different team with Gio in versus Mixon, however, this is not to say that they will regress. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will have had 10 days to prepare for an offense featuring Bernard when the Bengals take the field on Sunday in Carolina. Joe Mixon will be missed no doubt, but we will again see what ole’ reliable can do for this new look 2018 offense.
Run Gio, Run!
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