Still unblemished. The Bengals traveled to Buffalo and did what we expected of them. They won the football game and shut down another outstanding defensive line. Did they follow our 5 keys to victory to accomplish that feat? Let's take a look.
Build an early lead
Leading up to this game, Buffalo had a hard time getting their offense moving in the first half. On Sunday though, the Bengals had the offense that started slow. The Bills took an early seven point lead and it took the Bengals some time to equalize. Once they did though, the Bengals gained control of this game and never looked back.
This is a sign of a confident team and the Bengals carried that to Buffalo. Fans were also confident, the Twitter rage we have become accustomed to was much lighter than we have seen so far this season.
Get A.J. Green involved
The thinking was, if the Bengals came out and established their passing game early it would demoralize the Bills and disrupt the pass rush they boasted coming into the game. If Green was able to gain large chunks of yards the Bills' defense would roll coverage and many opportunities would present themselves. Turns out, the Bengals didn't need any of this to happen.
The Cincinnati passing game was not led by Green, instead Marvin Jones shined bright on Sunday as the Bills really had no answer to anything the Bengals accomplished.
Don't play to the competition
OK, so this was actually a slight on the Bills. The Bengals are a better football team and we wanted them to play better than the Bills. They did. Cincinnati shut down the supposed strength of the Bills' defense (the line) and kept Andy Dalton clean once again. The play from the offensive line of Cincinnati has been incredible this season, and among the best, if not the best, in the NFL.
The Bills' feared front managed nothing more than a whimper as the Bengals' offense rolled to victory.
Throw the football
Just 243 yards and 3 touchdowns equate to a relatively uneventful day for Andy Dalton. Do you know how satisfying it is to type those words? As one of the most staunch Dalton supporters from day one, I have been blasted many times over for my claims that Dalton is the right guy for the job. This season, he is not only doing getting the job done, he is excelling. The game in Buffalo proves the poise and ability he has this season.
So Cincinnati only recorded two sacks, but the defense put pressure in the Bills' backfield all afternoon. As predicted, EJ Manuel struggled on plays where he had to scramble. Especially in the second half, the Bengals defense clamped down and pressured the Bills' offense. The result put Buffalo in a hole they had no chance of climbing out of.
I ended the five keys with the following. The win was simple, the injury situation remains to be seen as several Bengals left the field due to being hurt.
The Bengals need to accomplish two things on Sunday:
- Stay healthy