Thu, 20 Jan 2022

Contipelli's Countdown | Week 13 vs the Los Angeles Chargers

Cincinnati Bengals
05 Dec 2021, 20:58 GMT+10

Marisa Contipelli

Defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-10 in Week 12, the Cincinnati Bengals welcome another AFC opponent vying for a playoff spot to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. For the first time, we will see two of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL Draft go head-to-head as Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert square off in The Jungle.

Here are five things to know ahead of Sunday's Week 13 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers:

1. Tee Party

Tee Higgins is coming off his best performance of 2021, after recording 114-receiving yards and scoring his third touchdown of the season in Week 12. The second-year receiver has led the Bengals in receiving yards in three of the last four games and has proven to be a reliable target downfield for quarterback Joe Burrow. Last week against Pittsburgh, Higgins hauled in six catches of at least 15 yards. That's the most by a Bengal since Terrell Owens did it in 2010, and it's the second-most in a game by any player in the NFL this season, just behind Green Bay's Davante Adams.

2. Air It Out

When Joe Burrow connected with Higgins on the 32-yard score in the second quarter, it counted as the tenth touchdown pass of 30 or more air yards thrown by Burrow this season. That number is the most in the NFL, as no other quarterback has thrown more than six touchdowns of 30 or more yards this season.

Burrow's 10 touchdown passes of 30 or more yards are the most in the first 11 games of a season by any quarterback age 24 or younger since Johnny Unitas hit that mark in 1957 for the Baltimore Colts. The second-year quarterback showed great accuracy in Week 12, as Burrow's 83.3 completion percentage was a new career-high, as was his 91.9 PFF grade.

3. Joltin' Joe

After rushing for a career-high 165 yards and finding the end zone twice last Sunday, Joe Mixon was named the AFC Offensive Play of the Week for the second time in his career. What might be more impressive however is the 134 yards after contact Mixon had against Pittsburgh. That yardage was the second most on the ground by any running back in Week 12, just behind his own 165. Mixon is one of just three players in the league this season to have over 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 total touchdowns and has scored eight of his 13 on the season over the last four weeks.

Mixon will look to continue his touchdown streak on Sunday, as the fifth-year running back has jolted his way into the end zone in eight straight games, tied with T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the third-longest in team history.

It could be another big day for Mixon on the ground in Week 13, as the Los Angeles Chargers are last in the NFL in run defense, and have allowed over 170-rushing yards in five games this season.

4. Under Pressure

Speaking of streaks, Trey Hendrickson has one of his own. The defensive end has recorded at least one sack in seven straight games, making it the longest ever by a Bengals defender, and currently sits as the longest active streak in the NFL. Hendrickson leads all defenders in the league with an 18.5 quarterback pressure rate and is first in the NFL with turnovers caused as the result of a generated pressure. With the strip-sack on Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger last Sunday, Hendrickson has forced a fumble in back-to-back weeks for the first time in his career.

5. Defend The Jungle

Bengals fans have been bringing the noise and energy all season long at Paul Brown Stadium, and it's made a significant impact. Opposing teams have committed 10 false start penalties in The Jungle this season, tied for second-most in the league.

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