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Joe Burrow says Sunday’s game at Arizona is a must-win for 1-3 Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (AP) — Quarterback Joe Burrow, still slowed by a calf injury, was unequivocal Wednesday about the importance of the Cincinnati Bengals getting a win at Arizona on Sunday.

The reigning AFC North champion Bengals (1-3) will be at risk of missing the playoffs if they don’t string together some victories.

“We’ve got to win,” Burrow said Wednesday. “Whatever it takes. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but we have to come out with the W.”

The fourth-year quarterback — who before the season became the highest-paid player in the NFL — has struggled to get the Bengals into the end zone. He acknowledged the calf injury he suffered early in training camp continues to limit his his mobility and style of play. He hasn’t ventured out of the pocket much and has thrown mostly short and intermediate passes.

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“A big part of my game in the past has been stealing first downs with my legs here and there, depending on the situation, depending on the defense,” he said. “And I haven’t been able to do that, so I’ve got to find more ways to get those conversions where maybe I used my legs in the past.”

Burrow said he felt good at practice on Wednesday and hasn’t had any setbacks with the calf since aggravating the injury late in a loss to Baltimore on Sept. 17. He’s optimistic that he’s going to continue to improve.

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“It’s been a tough couple of weeks, that’s for sure,” he said. “We’re going to get through it. We’ve got tough, resilient guys in there. We’ve got mentally tough guys who have been through these situations. It’s tough right now, but we’re going to get through it.”

It doesn’t help that receiver Tee Higgins is questionable with a rib injury. He missed Wednesday’s practice, as did linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither (knee) and cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, who is in the concussion protocol.

Offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (groin) and safety Irv Smith Jr. were limited in practice. Smith has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.

Coach Zac Taylor said his team isn’t as far removed from last year’s success as it may appear.

“We’ve done a lot of really good things with this (same) personnel in the past,” Taylor said. “We know we’ve got a great operation in terms of his we prepare, how we practice. We’ve got to find more production.

“We’ll get everybody going in the right direction,” he said.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL