D’Onta Foreman is the team’s current rushing leader with 273 yards and three touchdowns on 53 carries. Chuba Hubbard, who is listed as the team’s No. 1 running back, has just 97 yards on 15 carries and missed Sunday’s loss to the Falcons because of an ankle injury.
Cincinnati also might not be facing former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield as originally expected at the beginning of the season. Mayfield, who was Cleveland’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, is 6-1 against the Bengals but at least temporarily lost his starting job in Carolina. He was sidelined with an ankle injury during Matt Rhule’s final game as head coach in Week 5, following a 1-4 start, but Mayfield was available on the bench Sunday in his first week back.
After fourth-string quarterback P.J. Walker led the team to the upset win at Tampa Bay, interim coach Steve Wilks indicated he saw no need to make a change even if Mayfield was ready to play, but it’s unclear if health factored into that decision. Walker, a former XFL player, has a better pass completion rate (62.5 percent) than Walker this season in two fewer starts and 614 yards passing and three touchdowns with one interception over four total appearances.
D.J. Moore leads the team in receiving with 425 yards and three touchdowns, but Carolina traded away its next best receiver, sending Robbie Anderson to Arizona after five games.
The Panthers did not end up trading defensive end Brian Burns, despite the team receiving offers for him. Burns leads the team with 5.0 sacks and is another talented pass rusher the Bengals offensive line and Joe Burrow will have to worry about after struggling with pressure from Myles Garrett on Monday.
Carolina allows 23.3 points and 358.6 yards per game – both ranked 21st most in the league. Linebacker Shaq Thompson is Carolina’s top tackler with 59 combined tackles and one fumble recovery. Cornerback Donte Jackson has two interceptions.
Cincinnati will be trying to get back on track after the offense was shut out through three quarters Monday and the defense, which hadn’t allowed a second-half touchdown all season, gave up a season-high 32 points.
Burrow had called the last three games before the bye week a crucial stretch that would dictate the rest of the season for the Bengals, who beat Atlanta before the blowout loss at Cleveland. Taylor said the loss was not indicative of the team Cincinnati can be.
“This isn’t the type of team we are,” Taylor said. “This is a 17-game season and this is one game. We weren’t at our best (Monday) at any phase. I’m confident that’s not who we are, but we can make the corrections and flush this one away quickly, turn our attention to Carolina on the six-day week, have a great opportunity to get this out of our system quickly and play next Sunday.”