It's called overreaction Monday for a reason, and while it was only one game in a 16 week season, Sunday's performance was worthy of excitement. Here is what I learned while watching the Bengals take their first ever victory in Oakland:
Apparently Jack Del Rio unloaded a bottle of Sun In in his hair and is using his time on the left coast to bring back the ‘70's porn star look (sans the moustache).
Remember how awesome Sun In was in the late ‘90's? Well, according to Panama Jack Del Rio, it is still cool...as is the ‘70's porn star look. Jack's sideline style was the only bit of awesomeness the Raiders had to offer on Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders are not a good football team.
This is not to discount anything the Bengals did, because they played well, but all the talk about how improved the Raiders were going to be in 2015 looks to be just that...talk. The Bengals won't have many games as easy as this one.
You couldn't have scripted a better start to the season.
The final score was 33-13...and it wasn't that close. The Bengals put together a complete game of solid offense, defense and special teams, out-gaining the Raiders 396 yards to 246.
That was the Andy Dalton we need to see on a consistent basis; that Dalton can win in January.
Bengals fans know all too well how up and down Andy Dalton can be. "Good Andy" can beat anyone. "Bad Andy" can lose to anyone. Unfortunately, for most of Dalton's career, it has been one or the other and not much in between. On Sunday, we saw "Good Andy" and he was accurate and making great decisions. If not for the drops, he would have had nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Tyler Eifert is really good.
Those close to the team knew this and have been telling us all along just how good Eifert is. Everyone got to see it firsthand on Sunday and it was a thing of beauty - 9 receptions, 104 yards, 2 touchdowns. People underestimated the impact of Eifert's injury in 2014 and a quarterback like Dalton - an average to below average arm but good accuracy - needs a big safety net like Eifert to man the middle of the field. With Eifert, if teams double Green, Dalton will expose them with Eifert. If they double Eifert, he can expose them with Green.
If everyone can stay healthy, this offense can be scary good.
This is especially true for Eifert, and be honest, you cringed every time he was hit on Sunday. But, this was the first time A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Jeremy Hill have all played together and it was a beautiful sight. If they can stay healthy, this is a top five offense.
Hue Jackson brought out all the stops for his return to Oakland.
We heard about his creativity the last two seasons, but due to injuries, we never got to see the full extent of Jackson's play book. Well, he showed teams across the NFL a boatload of looks on Sunday. My favorite was when he split Andre Smith out wide before bringing him back. Most of the looks were for show, but it makes opposing coordinators think, something previous Cincinnati offensive coordinators did not do.
A.J. Green drops too many easy balls for how good and talented he is.
I have said it before and I will say it again, A.J. Green drops way too many passes for someone as good and talented as he is. It seems like it is the easier catches he struggles with the most. On Sunday, Dalton threw a beautiful pass to Green in the endzone and Green simply lost concentration. With the way this game unfolded, it didn't matter, but in a close AFC North matchup, those are the kind of plays that will cost this team.
Giovani Bernard looked very good.
I was a bit concerned with Bernard in the preseason as he seemed extremely ineffective, but that wasn't the case when Week 1 of the regular season rolled around. In my opinion, the 14 touches - 8 carries for 63 yards (7.9 YPC) and 6 catches for 25 yards - was the perfect amount of touches for Bernard. It keeps him fresh and able to expose teams with his speed and elusiveness.
Rex Burkhead needs to be used more.
Burkhead was in for just four snaps in Week 1 and managed just one target, but it was a completed pass for 24 yards. I know there are a ton of weapons on this team and only one football to share, but every time this guy gets in the game he makes a big play.
Geno Atkins looked healthy and that is huge.
We heard all offseason that Geno was finally looking like the Geno of old and we saw it Sunday. While he only had two tackles, he was constantly in the backfield and one of his two tackles was a sack and forced fumble. If Geno is healthy, everyone on the line is better.
I liked the intensity I saw from the defense - but George Iloka and especially Adam Jones have to control themselves.
I loved the intensity I saw from the Bengals' defense and the way they played with some swagger, but they need to control it. We said it last year when they received some stupid penalties in the Cleveland game for taunting Johnny Manziel, playing with an attitude is good. Getting penalties because of it can be costly. Iloka extended a drive by unnecessarily taunting a player after a nice big (and clean) hit and Adam Jones' penalty of ripping off Amari Cooper's helmet and slamming his head onto his helmet was just plain stupid and could have been very costly had the NFL decided to suspend him for his actions. Jones has worked very hard distancing himself from his former reputation and for all intents and purposes, has been a good guy both inside and outside the locker room in Cincinnati, but actions like this make people dredge up that past and run with the old narrative.
If you listen to the national media, at times it seems as though the AFC North is a two team division made up of the Steelers and Ravens. Somehow the only team in the division that has made the playoffs each of the last four seasons is completely forgotten about. Well, after the first week, the Bengals are the only team in the north with a win and the other three teams looked very shaky.