It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but that really isn't to be expected when you're up against a division foe in week one--particularly when that matchup is against the Ravens in Baltimore. Regardless, the Bengals found a way to win a game they may have lost in years past and they have jumped to a 1-0 start to the 2014 season.
There were many stars for the orange and black on Sunday, so we will lay out the nominees. Cast your vote and sound off on who you think the Bengals Most Valuable Player is for Week One!
Andy Dalton, QB:
For the first time now going into his fourth season, Dalton played a clean, turnover-less game in Baltimore on Sunday. There were dry spells, as well as woes in red zone and third down efficiency, but what lacked were the forced throws that inevitably became interceptions. Dalton was decisive, throwing for 301 yards, a score and a 66 percent completion rate. It was a quality start to the Hue Jackson era for No.14.
A.J. Green, WR:
After being relatively quiet on the day, Green made an absolute circus catch to convert a 77-yard touchdown. The score ended up being the game-winner and just adds to the resume of the perennial Pro Bowler. He finished the day with six catches for 131 yards, the touchdown and a run for five more yards.
Emmanuel Lamur, LB:
In his debut as a starter, Lamur played well on a stout defense. The unit was pitching a shutout for almost three quarters and the third-year 'backer had a hand in all of it. He had 11 total tackles and an interception on the day, mostly helping on tight ends and backs on short routes. The one mar on his day was the production from the tight ends as the game wore on, but that was likely a combination of factors including: fatigue, Vontaze Burfict out of the lineup and the Ravens playing catch-up.
Mike Nugent, K:
A kicker as MVP? You betcha. Any day that you ask your kicker to convert six tries is leaning on him a lot and Nugent answered the bell, converting five tries. Though he had one block, he did kick two long field goals--one being a 49-yarder and the other a 46-yarder. Everyone had to know that the settling for field goals instead of touchdowns would come back and haunt the team, but thankfully Nugent has his game face on and allowed the Bengals to get up to an early lead.
Wallace Gilberry, DE:
Like Lamur, Gilberry was part of a stout defense that put the Ravens in an early hole. Though the unit didn't provide consistent pressure, there were spurts of it and Gilberry's contributions came towards the end of the game. He finished with 1.5 sacks, including the game-sealer, and had four tackles in all. Since being a street free agent signed back in 2012, Gilberry has been a very valuable player for this defensive line.
Giovani Bernard, RB:
Yes, he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry on the day, but he still had his trademark spins and jukes that made fans drool. He had 49 tough yards on the ground, but was also a valuable asset in the passing game, finishing with six catches for 62 yards. One of his highlight plays of the day was a 32-yard catch where he broke free from the Ravens defense in the third quarter.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals Week One Most Valuable Player?