CINCINNATI (AP)Joe Mixon rushed for 153 yards and scored five touchdowns as the Cincinnati Bengals built a 35-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 42-21 rout of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Mixon, who came into the game with three TDs all year, scored four times in the first half alone, the first three on short rushes and the fourth on a 12-yard pass from Joe Burrow, who finished 22 for 28 for 206 yards before taking a seat in favor of backup Brandon Allen late in the third quarter.
The Bengals (5-4) bounced back from a horrendous Monday night loss at AFC North rival Cleveland to jump on Carolina (2-7) early and dominate on defense.
Cincinnati allowed P.J. Walker just 9 passing yards and intercepted him twice in the first half, chasing the former XFL quarterback to the bench in favor of Baker Mayfield to start the second.
Meanwhile, Mixon, who came in with zero 100-yard games this season, had 113 yards rushing by halftime. An overhauled offensive line that has been criticized for failing to break open the running game pushed around the Panthers’ defense.
Mixon also caught four passes for 58 yards. He gained only 27 yards on eight carries in the 32-13 loss to the Browns.
Mixon became the first NFL player with 150-plus yards and four or more touchdowns from scrimmage in the first half of a game since Shaun Alexander did it for the Seahawks in Week 4 of the 2002 season.
Burrow was 5 for 5 for 69 yards on the Bengals’ opening drive, the big one a 35-yard catch-and-run by Mixon to the Carolina 18. Three plays later, Mixon bulled in for a 2-yard touchdown.
Mixon’s 29-yard breakaway was the big play on the Bengals’ next scoring drive, which finished with 1-yard scoring plunge by Burrow.
After Carolina’s third consecutive three-and-out, Burrow put together a nine-play, 69-yard drive that finished with Mixon’s second rushing touchdown. After linebacker Germaine Pratt picked off Walker, it took Cincinnati five plays to eat up 42 yards and push the lead to 28-0.
An interception by Jessie Bates gave the Bengals another short field. Burrow finished the drive with his pass to Mixon, who added a 14-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter before he was rested.
Mayfield threw two second-half touchdown passes, and the Panthers concluded the scoring with 1:29 left.
Panthers: DE Brian Burns left in the first quarter with a neck injury. … DT Derrick Brown was declared out in the third quarter with an illness.
Bengals: RB Chris Evans was declared out in the first quarter with a knee injury. … S Dax Hill suffered a right shoulder injury and was declared out in the third quarter.
Panthers: Host NFC South rival Atlanta on Thursday night.
Bengals: After a week off, play at Pittsburgh. Cincinnati is 0-3 against AFC North opponents, including a Week 1 loss to the Steelers.
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