Believe it or not, 25% of the NFL regular season is already in the books, and at the quarter pole, your Bengals are an impressive 3-1. After the utter carnage of the opener, the last three weeks have been welcomed.
Sunday’s 27-10 dismantling of the Jacksonville Jaguars looked a lot like maturation for these young Bengals. They had shown in the Cleveland and Washington games that they were talented; that the offense could be great, the special teams solid, and the defense good enough. The Jacksonville game showed that the Bengals had learned crucial lessons about finishing games and keeping opponents on the mat.
Let’s hope it’s a trend that continues. Without further ado, here’s this week’s hit list:
Heroes—These Bengals shined in the victory
- Cedric Peerman: With the Bengals punting on a fourth-and-one from their own 34-yard line, Marvin Lewis called for the fake. Peerman delivered with a dazzling 48-yard scamper that tilted the momentum back in Cincinnati’s favor, and ultimately led to a touchdown.
- A.J. Green: 117 yards and a score. Torched Rashead Mathis, who is a very solid cover corner in this league. Last week he torched DeAngelo Hall. It’s officially a trend. The guy is a top WR and cannot be single covered. Ever.
- Geno Atkins: Two sacks, 3 total tackles and gave the interior of the Jacksonville line fits all game—so much so that they benched Eben Britton at halftime.
- Vontaze Burfict: The undrafted rookie had his best game yet at Will, leading the team with 8 tackles and a sack. Is it just me, or does it seem like #55 is always around the ball?
- Chris Crocker: Crock got an interception in his first game back in stripes. That alone deserves some props.
Goats—These Bengals need to play better
- BJGE: For the second week in a row, the guy known for never fumbling in his professional career put the ball on the ground. Twice. Worse yet, he did it on the way into the end zone that took 7 points off the board. Luckily for him and the Bengals, he recovered his second drop. Against an admittedly stacked defensive front trying to stop the run, he only managed 82 yards on 26 carries (3.15 average).
- Rey Maualuga: Sorry to continue to beat this horse to death, but its true. The dude gets blocked too easily and seems to always be in the wrong place. While Burfict continues to improve and show dynamic playmaking ability, Maualuga just isn’t getting much done in the middle. He finished with five tackles on the day—all of which were pretty much 5 yards downfield.
MVP: Andy Dalton
Another solid game with 244 yards passing, 2 touchdown passes and a one-yard touchdown sneak. He did have a couple of bad throws, but overall, he’s was poised and steady. He could’ve tied a club record with 3-straight 300-yard games, and I was rooting for it, but there was no need for the Bengals to pass much in by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. The second-year signal caller is now 3rd in the league in passing touchdowns, 5th in passer rating, and 10th in passing yards. Good stuff.
Random Observations—No Haikus
- Terrence Newman and Adam Jones did well, and thankfully finished the game uninjured. That was huge for the Bengals as they had to really cross their fingers on the secondary front.
- How sick is A.J. Green? That dude is amazing.
- Andrew Hawkins is like Barry Sanders in the open field.
- The pass rush keeps getting better. With Carlos Dunlap back on the field, the team has turned in 12 sacks in 2 weeks.
- The run defense was back. Holding MJD to 38 yards and no big chunk runs was huge.
Overall, a very solid outing for the men in stripes. Who Dey!