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Mohamed Sanu answers call vs Chiefs as Bengals WRs take turns stepping up

The Bengals continue to use a balanced passing game to shred opposing defenses.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals offense looks as efficient as it's been since the 2005 team lit the world on fire.

That's exactly what this year's squad is doing while scoring 30.3 points per game, the fourth-highest rate of any team. They also rank No. 1 in total offense, No. 4 in passing offense, No. 3 in passing scores (9), and are tied for No. 1 in sacks allowed (2). That's a ridiculous level of production, and what makes it special is that it's due in part to a talented crop of pass-catchers stepping up from game-to-game.

In Sunday's win over the Chiefs, Andy Dalton targeted six different receivers and none of them more than 10 times. Six of those targets went to Mohamed Sanu, who came into the game with just five catches for 77 yards in his first three games. Against Kansas City, Sanu finished with a team-high 84 yards on four catches, his biggest being a 52-yard grab:

This was also the first big game for Sanu lining up in the slot, something he rarely got to do last year as injuries forced him to become a boundary receiver. That allowed Sanu to be matched up with defensive back Ron Parker, who has struggled mightily in coverage this year for the Chiefs.

The Bengals needed Sanu to win that matchup not only because Sanu is simply a better player, but because Marvin Jones and A.J. Green were having trouble getting open on the boundary. That's because they were going against a very formidable cornerback tandem in Marcus Peters and Sean Smith. One week after Green and Jones combined to catch 15 passes for 331 yards and three scores against the Ravens, the duo had just eight grabs for 86 yards and no scores when matching up against Smith and Peters.

It is worth noting that Jones dropped what would have been about a 50-yard catch in the third quarter when up against Peters, but even that would have left him and Green with just 136 yards. That's why Sanu needed to step up and win his matchup against the Chiefs, and he did just that.

The same was also true of Tyler Eifert, who caught three passes for 69 yards on four targets. He was the leading target-getter (12) in Cincinnati's Week 1 win in Oakland and tied with Jones for the team-high (5) in the Week 2 win over San Diego. As much as Dalton has loved forcing it to Green in the past, the star receiver has only been the leading target-getter in two of four games this season.

All of the above shows just how balanced the passing game has been and how Dalton appears to have finally broken his habit of locking onto Green. This is maybe the biggest reason why Dalton is having his best year as a pro, and why this looks like the most dangerous Bengals team we've seen in some time.