The Bengals move to 1-2 on the season after Burrow attempted 49 passes on the night and the defense put on a clinic that suggested it was back to form.
Here are some quick, instant takeaways from the win before the Bengals turn around on a short week for a matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
Dax Hill might be a star
Too soon? Dax, specifically drafted to replace Jessie Bates, was all over the field in the first half, stopping plays in the backfield, breaking up passes on tight ends and coming up huge as a blitzer. He’s not as seasoned as Bates, but he might just have the range and versatility that lets Lou Anarumo keep calling his usual defense.
Two big negatives
Cordell Volson and Brad Robbins. For Volson, the expected leap hasn’t happened. Granted, he was fighting against a Hall of Famer by the name of Aaron Donald. But it wasn’t a good look. Robbins, a rookie, shanked at least one punt off his foot in the first half and continues to struggle. One has to wonder if the team doesn’t eyeball free agency for veterans around the bye week soon if something doesn’t change.
Tanner Hudson might be a guy
Yeah, Hudson got his feet tangled up and fell on a key third-down target early in the game. But he rebounded for a couple of nice catches, his longest on the day going for 26 yards. Not bad for a guy promoted from the practice squad that very evening and shoved into a primetime spotlight. He lived up to the preseason hype and this won’t be the last fans see of him.
The OL is steady
Comments about Volson aside, we’ve suggested this could be the best line of the Burrow era and it’s slowly getting there. The Rams aren’t the Browns or Ravens, but the unit held up well with an immobile, injured quarterback in the pocket for 49 attempts and in theory, it should only get better from here as they rep more.
Charlie Jones always looks like he's going to break one
This is a little wild, really. Jones went from a rookie who looked like he was a little too small for the gig and misjudged speed of angles during the preseason to feeling like he’s going to be a serious threat on every return. It’s impressive, and just what the Bengals need to win field position.
Don't focus on the attempt numbers
Somewhere, somebody is mad Burrow attempted nearly 50 passes while hurt. But when they’re designed quick-outs, many of which that function as a running game, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s clear he’s not 100 percent and can’t push it down field and to the sideline with his usual accuracy yet. But the attempts number, weird as it sounds, protected him. Were he rolling out and running often or hanging around after five-step drops, then it would be an issue.
The big takeaway
One of our big takeaways from the last two games was simply this — the Bengals won’t have to play AFC North opponents who know them well each week. This was one of those weeks. The Bengals were the better team, hobbled quarterback or not, and that could be the case against the Titans next week, too. A Week 7 bye looms and if the team can get Burrow to that point healthy and he gets a week or rest then, this could set up very nicely for them down the stretch.