Bengals coach Taylor hails Mixon after franchise-record five TDs against Panthers

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Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor praised Joe Mixon for seizing his chance after he scored a franchise-record five touchdowns in Sunday's 42-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.

The running back banished his early season inefficiency with a searing performance at Paul Brown Stadium to move last season's Super Bowl finalists to 5-4 for the campaign.

With four on the ground and one in the air, Mixon moved to six TDs for the campaign, having previously only finished against the Atlanta Falcons in October.

Taylor stressed that he knew the 26-year-old's time would come thanks to his dedication to the game, suggesting it was only a matter of time before he returned to his best.

"Great players want the ball," he said. "He's a captain. He's handled this thing really well.

"A lot of these guys know that sometimes their number isn't called as a much and then there's a game that's going to smack them right in the face like this one."

The Bengals famously sat 5-4 last term before going on to post another five wins to top the AFC North and set them on their path to the Super Bowl.

Asked what the difference is between such a feat this season compared to last year, Taylor was bullish, adding: "It's a very similar situation. You're in the mix, and you've just got to take it one game at a time.

"There's still a long season yet to go. I know it's at the halfway point now. But again, we've just got to be very narrowly focused on our next opponent which is Pittsburgh.

"[It's a] big divisional game, obviously. We haven't taken care of business in the division, which is always key, so it's a great opportunity to get that on the right track."