During the first two weeks of this season, two of the biggest surprise performers for the Bengals were Tyler Eifert and Russell Bodine.
Eifert, now in his third NFL season, was the No. 1-rated tight end in Pro Football Focus' ratings through two weeks after catching 13 passes for 153 yards and three scores. He simply looked unstoppable and perhaps even the favorite target of Andy Dalton in an offense where A.J. Green had been the featured weapon for so long.
As for Bodine, his second season as the Bengals' starting center was looking to be a breakout year for him. Through two weeks, Bodine was ranked the No. 2 center on PFF as he appeared to have improved significantly from last year when he ranked 62nd out of 70 centers.
Then came Week 3 at Baltimore. Both Eifert and Bodine struggled mightily in Cincinnati's thrilling win that probably shouldn't have been so thrilling. For Eifert, his controversial overturned touchdown led to the Bengals having only a 14-0 lead at halftime.
His dropped touchdown on the opening drive of the second half also led to the Bengals blowing another red-zone chance to build on their lead. If the Bengals secured either of those scores, it may have been too much for Baltimore to come back from and the game may have never turned into a fourth-quarter shootout.
That helped lead to Eifert being PFF's worst-rated tight end of Week 3:
Tight end: Tyler Eifert, Bengals (-5.8)
This one is a surprise, just considering how well Eifert had played the first two weeks. But when you’re only targeted twice and drop one of them (he didn’t catch the other one, either), allow a sack and a QB hit, and can’t block your man on run plays, you make your way onto this team.
As for Bodine, he was simply dominated by nose tackle Brandon Williams in this game, which led to the Bengals running for just 86 yards on 31 carries (2.8 yards per carry). Williams ended up being the highest-rated interior defensive lineman of Week 3 for his performance against Bodine, which included seven stops (tackles causing an offensive failure).
That's why it shouldn't be a surprise Bodine was the worst-rated center of Week 3.
Center: Russell Bodine, Bengals (-8.4)
Bodine only slightly struggled in pass blocking, allowing a sack and two hurries. However, he allowed five tackles for two yards or less in the run game, and was beaten enough that he had to take a holding penalty on another. Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams gave him trouble all game. He also was the cause of a delay of game penalty.
The good news is the Bengals were able to win a road divisional game, despite those two keys to the offense playing so poorly. Good players are going to have bad games, so hopefully this is just a blip on the radar in the long term this season.