The Steelers and Bengals have a history, one that certainly predates rookie running back Joe Mixon's arrival, as well as his counterpart, Le'Veon Bell, who is now in his fifth season. The two teams meet for their final regular-season get-together on Monday night. And while both sides are trying their best to downplay the matchup, Bell did take time this week to revisit some curious comments by Mixon after the Steelers beat the Bengals, 29-14, back in Week 7.
At the time, Mixon maintained that "I can do way more" than Bell, even though Mixon had just 48 rushing yards against Pittsburgh while Bell finished with 134 rushing yards to go along with 58 yards receiving.
"The week we played them last time, he had said certain things that he's way better than me and things like that," Bell said, via ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler. "The week after that, he's trying to wear everything I'm wearing. That's the only thing that's kind of confusing to me. I'm kind of confused by the whole thing. It is what it is. He's his own player, I'm my own player. We'll go out there and do our thing."
Ah yes, in addition to his running style, Bell accused Mixon of borrowing his fashion sense. In Week 8 against the Colts, Mixon ripped off this 67-yard catch and run:
Pay special attention to Mixon wearing an arm sleeve on just his left arm, the mismatched gloves and the first-down ball drop. Why? Because none of these things went unnoticed by Bell, who at the time didn't name names but gave an obvious clue about who he was talking about with the "... for someone who feels they can do 'way more' than I can..." line.
There's another subplot to Monday's rematch; the Bengals might be looking to exact revenge after Bell and JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrated a touchdown against the Colts in Week 10 by reenacting a fight between Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
"I thought (the fight) was funny," Bell said. "We wanted to make it a celebration. We weren't trying to downplay them or make A.J. Green feel a certain way. We just thought that situation was funny how it turned out and ran with it."
The Steelers are 9-2 and are atop the AFC North while the Bengals are 5-6, third in the division and currently two spots out of the final wild-card spot.