Based on his time at Oklahoma, one would have likely guessed that calls for more maturity from Joe Mixon during his rookie season would have come as a result of off-field misbehavior.
That’s not the case, however. The Bengals running back has not had any trouble away from the team, but he earned a rebuke from coach Marvin Lewis for speaking his mind about the team’s offensive approach in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Mixon wondered why he didn’t get any carries in the second half and why the Bengals went away from the ground game in general, which led to a sharp response from Lewis on Monday.
“You should show maturity just like everybody else,” Lewis said, via the team’s website. “Everybody wants to be out there all the time. But we’re not going to create a run when we are down by 12 or 15. We’re not going to create it. I saw a ball go on the ground when he received two balls thrown to him, which are the same situation. We got to handle it all the time the correct way, and be strong enough to not be led into questions after the game, which unfortunately he doesn’t know enough about.”
Mixon had seven carries for 48 yards while the Bengals were scoring two touchdowns in the first half of a game that was tied at 14 until a Chris Bowell field goal with 1:50 left on the clock in the second quarter. The Bengals went down by six before the half was over on another field goal and two more Boswell kicks put them down 12 with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
The Bengals ran only eight plays over that span and 51 for the game, which offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said is inevitably going to leave someone feeling like they aren’t doing enough. That’s true, but one could also argue that the choice of plays impacts how many a team runs in total even if it means Lewis questions your maturity.