The Cincinnati Bengals once again decided to make things interesting, this time in a Week 2, 20-17 loss against the Dallas Cowboys.
Those Bengals went down big in the opening quarter and struggled offensively to catch back up. Dallas, despite starting a backup quarterback, ran the ball with ease against an erratic Bengals defense.
The result was a strange, plodding pace to a game the Bengals desperately needed to win.
— Brutal start for the defense as Cowboys backup Cooper Rush guided Dallas to an opening-drive touchdown. This weird trend of the Bengals defense struggling against debuting and/or inexperienced quarterbacks continued.
— Burrow took a really bad sack on the first offensive drive, a continuation of Week 1. La’el Collins got beat on the edge, too. The field goal, at least, was good with backup long-snapper Cal Adomitis looking good on the snap.
— Bengals in a quick 14-3 hole. Tony Pollard took a quick-hitter 50-plus yards for what was eventually ruled down at the one, only to punch it in a player later. Defense got dominated in every facet.
— Cincinnati’s offensive line is clearly a major problem, but so is the strategy. There were multiple examples of Micah Parsons going unblocked on the edge.
— That offensive attack also didn’t use much of Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd in the first half, a perplexing decision given their ability to enable quick-hitting passes that negate an opponent’s pass-rusher.
— Huge number of dropped picks in this one, each of which could have had game-altering impacts.
— Burrow’s good for at least one “how did he do that?” play per game and that one came on a third-and-10 in the fourth quarter on a deep shot to Tee Higgins while under pressure. He did it again later to Ja’Marr Chase on a key fourth down.
— To cap it all off, Burrow ran off-script and hit Higgins for a touchdown, then Tyler Boyd for the two-point conversion to tie things up.
6: Number of sacks suffered by Joe Burrow. That can’t keep up or he might end up missing games. The blame gets shared — he held onto the ball too long at times and at others, the line failed to do its job.
QB Joe Burrow: It was ugly, but Burrow stood tall despite constantly being under siege and wound up leading the march down the field to tie the game.
DE Sam Hubbard: Need a high-energy, disruptive guy to break open a play or two in a game like this? It’s Hubbard, and it showed up multiple times.
Sluggish: It feels like the Bengals keep shrugging off preseason rust. The defense looked miserable over two drives early, otherwise this is a blowout win. The offensive line still appears to be asleep. This is the sort of rut that can ruin a season early in the schedule.