By Matthew McAdow
Herald Sports Contributor
Red Hot Bengals
Joe Burrow thrives in primetime games and displayed his skills on Sunday Night Football this week which lead to a Bengals victory over the Buffalo Bills. Time and time again, number 9 shows the world that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league on national television. Cincinnati has now won 6 straight home prime-time games, which is quite the opposite narrative of what I was used to growing up. With the AFC North all winning this week and all of them currently holding a playoff spot (how wild is that), Cincinnati will need to continue to apply the pressure next week against the Texans. There is now a 3-way tie between the Steelers, Browns, and Bengals for second place in the division, along with the Ravens leading the group at 7-2. In the NFL, every game matters, but when you start 1-3, now every game really is do-or-die in a tight AFC North Division. Let’s enjoy this one for now though, Who Dey!
- Joe Burrow threw for 348 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 turnovers. He continues to make wise decisions and protects the football better than any quarterback in the league.
- Have yourself a day Tee Higgins! 110 yards and 8 receptions which lead all WR. It felt good to hear the striped jungle yell “TEE” throughout the night.
- Tight End usage was huge. Smith Jr., Hudson, and Sample all had action on Sunday night and each of them have their own strengths. If they can contribute together in this offense like they did on Sunday night, then I might just be fine with not going after a tight end at the deadline.
- Cam Taylor-Britt is officially an elite corner in my book. He reeled in a massive interception which makes that 3 on the year. The 24 year old out of Nebraska is becoming one of my favorite draft picks in the history of this franchise.
- Nick Scott forced a fumble in Bengals territory that helped ensure a Bengals victory. When 2 teams that are this good matchup against each other, it often comes down to turnovers. Cincinnati forced 2 and Buffalo forced 0, which resulted in a 24-18 victory.
- Opening Drives have been stellar as of late. Cincinnati is on a 4 game win streak, while also scoring on the first drive in each of those 4 games.
- Mike Hilton silently disrupts an offense night in and night out. He had 10 tackles, trailing only Germaine Pratt with 11.
- Joe Burrow appeared to have his fingernail ripped off on his throwing hand, which appeared to be his pointer finger. I am no expert, but I am sure this is going to cause some discomfort throughout the end of this season.
- Joe Mixon picked up the blitz quite well, but he failed to get anything going on the ground in this one. 2.6 yards per carry on 14 carries isn’t exactly what I was expecting in this one. On to next week!
- Everyone in the AFC North continues to win. At what point can Cincinnati catch a break for a change? Looks like we will have to grind this season out the hard way!
End of an Era
The Cincinnati Reds this weekend decided to not pick up Joey Votto’s option, which resulted in the best player to ever wear a Reds uniform to become a free agent. Number 19 will eventually have a statue outside Great American Ball Park, but for now, it still stings. Sure, I understand that we weren’t going to pay him 20 million, but I had hope that we would do the buyout and a small deal. Everywhere I read, people are stating Votto isn’t willing to play a part-time role, but I haven’t seen him say that anywhere. Don’t get me wrong I like Nick Krall, but I have to call certain things out when I see it. He stated over the weekend that money didn’t play a factor in this decision and that they simply don’t have at-bats for Joey. Money didn’t play a factor…Really? No at-bats for Joey? I’d rather him just have came out and said simply that CES is our 1st baseman and that we weren’t willing to pay top dollar for a .200 batter who is 40 years old. If there are no at-bats left for Joey, then I hope that means that I won’t be seeing players like Vosler, Martini, Fairchild, and others of that level take up time in the DH Spot. If there is no room for #19, then does that mean there is also no room for Jonathan India? My advice, never bank on a team not having injuries. There is enough playing time for each of these players and everything typically plays out in a way that everyone gets enough playing time.
Time heals all wounds and I am excited for the future of this Reds team, while also being excited to see where my favorite athlete of all time ends up in 2024. It’s been a wild ride and in all honesty, he deserved so much more throughout his career. Someone of his caliber could have easily left for the Yankees or Dodgers, yet he decided to stick it out right here in Cincinnati. You’ll always be a Cincinnati Red Joey Votto and thank you for everything you have done for the game of baseball.
betJACK Pick of the Week We are on a heater now! Join me in betting on the Bengals by downloading betJACK now! For this week’s bet, I am placing my money on Houston +7.5. I think Cincinnati wins this game, but I think Houston keeps this one close. At 4-4, Stroud is making this Texans team look a lot better than they are getting credit for.