I know it's early, but let's go behind the numbers and trudge up some things through the first three games this year.
+ IMPRESSIVE DEFENSE: For the second straight week, the Bengals defense are the team's heroes with wins against the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens. If you average the opposing offense during the team's wins, the defense has allowed 263 yards, 8.5 points, less than 100 yards rushing, less than 170 yards passing and an impressive 23.1% third down conversion rate. And more impressively, Cincinnati's defense has recorded eight turnovers (five interceptions, three fumbles recovered) while not allowing any points in the first half since giving up 24 points to the New England Patriots.
+ JORDAN SHIPLEY DOMINATES FIRST DOWNS. As of this posting with a Monday Night Football game to be played between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley are ranked third in the NFL with 13 receptions amongst rookies; running back Jahvid Best (16) and Dez Bryant (14) are the only rookies to record more receptions than Shipley and Gresham.
And no rookie has more first down receptions than Shipley, who has 10 through the first three weeks.
+ PASSING DEFENSE DOMINATES WINS. During both wins this year, Cincinnati's passing defense hasn't allowed quarterbacks to complete 50% of their passes, with both quarterbacks completing a combined 46% of their passes.
Better still, Joe Flacco and Jimmy Clausen have a combined 35.8 passer rating against the Bengals defense.
On the other end of the spectrum, Tom Brady recorded three touchdowns, completed 71% of his passes for a 120.9 passer rating. We sort of lost that game.
+ GRESHEM ON PACE TO DO SOMETHING NOT DONE IN NEARLY 30 YEARS. Gresham is on pace to record 69 receptions, which by our calculations would be the most by a Bengals tight end since Dan Ross' 71 receptions in 1981.
I know, kind of surprised me too. But Rodney Holman never recorded more than 50 receptions (1989) and Rodney Holman's best season came in 1995 where he recorded 55 receptions.
+ DOMINATING TIME OF POSSESSION. The Bengals offense has dominated time of possession during all three games this season, recording at least 31 minutes of offense. The last time Cincinnati dominated the time of possession in three straight games was between weeks 11-13 last season, recording at least 38 minutes against Oakland, Cleveland and Detroit. Ironically, in both three-game stretches, the Bengals lost the first game.
The last time they won time of possession in at least four straight games was a six-game stretch from the final four games in 2008 (against the Colts, Redskins, Browns and Chiefs) and the first two games in 2009 (Broncos and Packers).
+ WHERE HAS BERNARD GONE? No, we're not wondering where Bernard and Rose went on an island of mystery. Since touching the football nine times from scrimmage for 50 yards of total offense, Bernard Scott has slowly seen his production fall. Against the Ravens, he ran the football five times. Against the Panthers, during Brian Leonard's first regular season game of the season, Scott saw his carries drop even more to two attempts.
Aside from having a lone kickoff return to start the game for 16 yards, Scott also downed the football at Carolina's four-yard line towards the end of the game.
+ NO 100 FOR YOU. Cincinnati has yet to give up 100 yards rushing to a running back or 100 yards receiving to a wide receiver. In fact, of the starting wide receivers, only Randy Moss and Wes Welker recorded more than 45 yards receiving.
+ BIG PLAY DAYS. While the overall product has been good, the Bengals are still allowing big plays. They've given up runs of 20 yards or more in three straight games.