By Matt McAdow
The Cincinnati Bengals finally returned to form in week three with an impressive win over the Jets. With a score of 27-12, the Bengals took off to an early lead, as Coach Zac Taylor made the decision to receive the kickoff rather than kick after winning the coin toss. Playing from behind happened in the first two weeks and this decision certainly seemed to help with the momentum of the Bengals offense. Burrow lead the way with 275 yards and three touchdowns, as he looked poised in the pocket due to the better protection from the men up front. Tyler Boyd had 105 yards and a touchdown and running back Samaje Perine “ate” a ton of clock to put a dagger into the Jets defense and end the game. While we had some offensive momentum for the first time this year, the Bengals defense is what truly won this football game, as Davis-Gaither, Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, and Vonn Bell all had a monstrous game.
The Bengals are now 1-2 and head into a very tough matchup on Thursday against the “Red-Hot” Miami Dolphins. Primetime Joe Burrow is always fun to watch and especially in a night that we are displaying our white helmets, have the Ring of Honor Ceremony, and look to improve our record to 2-2. Cincinnati is currently just one game back behind the Browns and the Ravens, and a win over one of the best teams in football on Thursday would ease Cincinnati fans minds and show that this Cincinnati team is just as productive as last year’s team.
• The offensive line looked a lot better, despite ranking 27th out of 30 teams so far in week 3 in pass block win rate. There is still much to improve on, but they didn’t seem to have the communication errors that they had in the first 2 weeks.
• Trey Hendrickson was an animal and put on a show in East Rutherford, as he racked up 2.5 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 2 forced fumbles. He was the standout on the Bengals defense and in my opinion impacted the game more than anyone else on either side of the ball.
• Samaje Perine was very impressive at the end of the game, as he ran off the clock to ensure a Bengals win. Samaje had 1 receiving touchdown, along with 47 rush yards on 9 carries.
• Akeem Davis-Gaither filled in at linebacker and lead the team with 13 total tackles. Having depth at linebacker is hard to find and Cincinnati certainly has it.
• Chidobe Awuzie continued to impress with his coverage at the cornerback position, and in my opinion is a top ten player at his position in the league.
• Cincinnati gets some momentum going into Thursday Night Football and the morale in the locker room has increased, as they pulled out a much-needed win.
• D.J. Reader appeared to injure his knee and was not able to return to the game. Reader is probably our most skilled player on defense and is a big reason why our defense is efficient against the run. Losing Reader for any amount of time is a huge loss for the club.
• Joe Mixon couldn’t find running room again in week 3 and had 12 carries for a measly 24 yards. Samaje came into run late in the game and appeared to find running room, which makes you wonder what is going on with our RB1.
• The woes with our kicking crew continued as they had another blunder, as Evan McPherson missed another field goal. While it was beginning to rain, these small chip shots shouldn’t be such a problem and is something to keep an eye on as we play in close games moving forward.
• Hayden Hurst appeared to be our major red zone threat before the year started, but it appears to be the exact opposite through the first 3 weeks. While I believe Hurst is very talented, it appears that we haven’t utilized his size to our advantage in the red zone.
• Two toes in and no touchdown? Don’t get me started on this rule, as it needs changed after this season. Two toes in whether it’s dragging or the direction you are falling should be a touchdown and I believe the majority of the league would agree. This rule took away one of the most impressive touchdowns I have seen from Tee Higgins.