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Week 6 Bengals vs Bills: What We Learned

Week 6 started slow but ended with the same result as the previous five games... the Bengals scoring more points than their opponent. We learned a lot on Sunday, including a bit too much about a few Bengals players after the game.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

For just the second time in the last 30 years, the Bengals left western New York with a ‘W' and as a result, they enter the bye week at 6-0, atop the AFC North. Here is what we learned in Week 6.

The Bengals are 6-0.

Honestly, that is really all that matters and I could just end this article right here...but that wouldn't be any fun for anyone, so I will entertain you a bit longer.

Through six games, Andy Dalton is a legitimate early candidate for MVP.

People will laugh. I will admit, I laughed a little when this was brought up last week. While six games is still a bit early in the season, it is a big enough sample of the season to start putting names out there for early consideration, and few have a better case than Andy Dalton. Take a look at where Dalton ranks in the major statistical categories for a quarterback:







2nd = Rodgers (80.8)




Brady (118.4)




Rivers (2,116)




Rodgers (15)




Brady (1)

TD/Int Ratio



Brady (14/1)




Roethlisberger (10.25)

Comp. %



Roethlisberger (75.3%)

Oh, and his team is 6-0 and his offense is 4th in the NFL, averaging 30.3 points, despite playing three of the most talented and feared defenses in the NFL (Kansas City, Seattle, Buffalo). If those stats aren't worthy of MVP consideration at this point in the season, I don't know what is.

We can stop the "Good Andy/Bad Andy" talk, as well as the "Common Opponent vs Uncommon Opponent" nonsense.

Full disclosure here, I am as guilty as anyone because I have - on many occasions - used the "Good Andy/Bad Andy" terms, but in the past few seasons, that was really the only way to describe his up and down play. While six games does not make a season (or a career), it is enough to give Andy the benefit of the doubt that every time he has a bad throw or a bad game (and both will happen at some point), we don't start the "here's Bad Andy" talk. Four seasons after taking over a terrible team, the guy has a career record of 46-23-1 (.667), 16,519 yards, 113 touchdowns, 13 game winning drives, a career completion percentage of 62.1%, a career passer rating of 87.8 and is well on his way to being five for five taking his team to the playoffs. In other words, he is a good quarterback. Not great, good. So let's afford him the benefit of the doubt every other good quarterback gets. Let's stop trying to define him as a player throw-by-throw and game-by-game.

As for the "Common/Uncommon Opponent" talk, this can stop as well. As a result of the way the NFL does their scheduling, Dalton has now played every NFL team within the last four years, thus, all opponents (to some extent) are common. Plus, three of his "common" opponents every year are Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland, three teams that consistently have had top 10 defenses since Dalton entered the league - as a result, one would expect his "common" opponents record to not be as good as someone like Andrew Luck that has six games per year against the likes of Jacksonville, Tennessee and Houston.

The Bengals' offense is scary good.

Before the season began, many talked about the "potential" of this offense - so long as Dalton could step up his play. However, a lot of that "potential" was based off our own theory that the offense would click with all their weapons being healthy - something we had never seen. Well, Dalton has stepped up, all his weapons are working in unison and the offense is clicking to the tune of 30.3 points per game, fourth in the NFL. Imagine what things might look like if Jeremy Hill starts to get on track?

The NFL is quickly learning what Bengals fans already knew about Carlos Dunlap: he is good.

No one has benefitted from the return of a healthy Geno Atkins more than Dunlap. Through six games, Dunlap leads the NFL with 6.5 sacks and is on pace for 17.5. To give you an idea of just how good 17.5 sacks are, in 2014, only J.J. Watt (20.5) and Justin Houston (22) had more than 17.5 sacks. In fact, in 2014, the Bengals team only had 20 sacks as a unit! Imagine what the return of Vontaze Burfict could do for Dunlap?

Giovani Bernard continues to be the proverbial "hot hand" in the Bengals' talented backfield.

As much as Bengals fans (and coaches) would love to see Jeremy Hill get going, how awesome has it been seeing the Bernard we thought we would see last year?  Bernard (427) is on pace for 1,100+ yards and currently ranks third amongst running backs with a yards per carry (YPC) of 5.5. Add in his 18 receptions for 119 yards, and Bernard is on pace for nearly 1,500 yards from scrimmage in 2015.

When Jeremy Hill gets on track, this offense will be the best in the NFL.

Before the season began, there was talk (especially amongst Bengals fans/coaches/players) that Hill should be considered a top five back in the NFL and could make a case for the best running back in the NFL by the end of the year. While his six touchdowns are great, his 3.1 YPC and 232 yards are more than disappointing. If I were to tell you prior to the season that Hill's stats would be so miniscule after six games, yet the Bengals would be 6-0 and scoring 30+ points per game, you would have wanted my mental capacities checked - you may think I need them checked anyway, but I digress. Regardless, Hill won't stay in this rut all year long. Eventually he will get things going and when he does, this will be the best, most balanced, versatile and explosive offense in the NFL.

The Bengals' offensive line might be the team MVP through six games.

As great as Dalton has been, there's no doubt a big part of his improvement has been his protection. Despite facing three of the most feared defensive lines in football (Kansas City, Seattle, Buffalo), Dalton has been sacked just six times - no starting quarterback has been sacked less. Think about this for a moment, the combined contracts for the Bills defensive line total more than a quarter of a billion dollars...and the Bengals line surrendered a grand total of zero sacks and one quarterback hit. If the MVP could be given to a group, the Bengals line would deserve it.

Darqueze Dennard officially had his coming out party.

As a result of Leon Hall being inactive, Dennard logged the most snaps of NFL career (47) and he certainly made the most of them. Dennard has been playing well the last few weeks and his athletic interception was a great play which was well deserved. As the season wears on, expect to see Dennard's playing time increase.

Dre Kirkpatrick has been disappointing thus far.

All offseason long we heard about how good Kirkpatrick looked and while I don't buy into the low grade that PFF has placed on him thus far, I have not been impressed. Sure, he has had some nice plays, but he has also had an equal number of poor plays and mental errors. The first play of the game in Buffalo was sprung by Kirkpatrick's weak tackling attempt and at least one or two touchdowns this season have seem to be the result of a miscommunication in the secondary on Kirkpatrick's guy. He has great athletic ability, range and drive, but if the Bengals want to make a deep run in January, he needs to clean up the mistakes.

The Bengals' linebackers still scare me...and not in a good way.

Coming into the season, the linebackers concerned me - especially without Burfict. Through six games, I have seen nothing to ease my concern. It feels as though every pass to running backs and tight ends is completed and missed tackles amongst the linebacking corps is beginning to become a weekly occurrence. Teams like the Bills and Chiefs may not be able to expose the Bengals linebackers as much as they could, but teams like New England and Green Bay will. Whether Burfict is back or not, the linebacker play needs to improve.

The NFL aired footage of Bengals players naked...yet little will be done about it.

I will delve into this deeper this week, but, how is it that live footage is rolled out and aired with naked players in the background? Media in the locker room immediately after games is bad enough, but live footage? This from the league that monitors everything from the length of a player's uniform towels, the height of their socks and the color of their chinstraps (and fines them tens of thousands of dollars for violations), they apparently are incapable of monitoring their own footage to make sure naked players aren't being aired? Apparently having your socks too high is a violation of the NFL's uniform policy, but baring one's backside is not. Oh, the hypocrisy of the NFL.

The Bengals hit the bye week at six and zero!

We have come full circle to the only thing that matters. Take this one into the bye week with you: when you are having a shitty day at work and all looks bleak, just remember, your Cincinnati Bengals are 6-0.