Mike Tomlin calls Bengals RB Joe Mixon ‘tough nut to crack’

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Next on the docket for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 24th-ranked run defense is Bengals running back Joe Mixon.

Though he didn’t find the end zone in the Steelers-Bengals Week 3 meeting back in September, Mixon still played a big factor in the offense, rushing 18 times for 90 yards at five yards per clip.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin previewed this week’s matchup in today’s press conference. He said while Joe Burrow, Jamar Chase, Tee Higgins, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Boyd all present challenges, it’s Mixon the defense should be concerned about.

“We’d better not underestimate Joe Mixon and his impact,” Tomlin said. “The Bengals run game needs no endorsement from me. He and they have been really consistent and good not only this year but for a number of years.”

“In our current state and some of the things we’ve given up in recent weeks, albeit the quarterback scramble, [the run game] is deserving of attention from us.”

Pittsburgh’s defense has allowed 1,266 yards on the ground — eighth-most in the league — and eight rushing touchdowns.

“We’ve got to work to formulate a good plan and position our people to not allow Joe to control the game. He’s capable of that.”

Tomlin pointed out that Mixon was a significant component of Cincinnati’s win over the Raiders in Vegas last week, rushing for 123 yards and two scores.

“We’d be naive if we don’t think that he’s going to continue to be a central component of what they do in terms of allowing them to possess the ball and being a tough nut to crack. It’s easier to get behind people and allow one to do the things that he does when Joe Mixon is rolling.”

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