CINCINNATI — Bengals running back Joe Mixon will not play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans after not being cleared from concussion protocols, coach Zac Taylor said Friday.
“We’ll be able to protect him for another week with that concussion,” Taylor told reporters.
Mixon, who did not practice this week, left Sunday’s win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half and did not return. He is not expected to travel with the team this weekend.
Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is questionable for Sunday’s game after missing the past three games with a hip injury. While quarterback Joe Burrow said Wednesday that the team expects Chase to play, Taylor was coy about Chase’s status Friday, saying that Chase looked good as he returned to practice this week.
This will be the first game Mixon has missed to injury since 2020. In 10 games this season, Mixon has 605 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The sixth-year running back has also been a key asset in the passing game. He has already matched last year’s total of 314 receiving yards, a career high, despite playing in six fewer games.
With Mixon out, Samaje Perine is expected to get the bulk of the offensive snaps. Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans, who was out last week with a knee injury, are on track to play Sunday.
Perine is coming off a career game in which he caught three touchdown passes — a franchise record for a running back — against Pittsburgh.
“It ain’t got nothing to do with this game,” Perine told ESPN on Friday. “You just got to come in every week, week in and week out, and be prepared to play.”
Perine and Mixon have benefited from a Cincinnati run scheme that has leaned heavily on gap-based runs in recent weeks.
“I don’t know if we’re getting more movement or what,” Perine said. “But as an offense in general, when you move to gap-scheme type of stuff, it’s worked for us, I think, more so because [of how our offensive] line works. They love downhill running.”
Cincinnati (6-4) is going up against a Tennessee defense that is one of the best at stopping the run. The Titans (7-3) are second in the league in rushing yards allowed per game and feature defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who has earned praise from Bengals players and coaches leading up to Sunday’s game.
Taylor said Cincinnati’s approach will remain constant despite Mixon’s absence.
“We’re still going to play the style of ball that we think is best to play in this game,” Taylor said.