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Bengals Week 8 rookie report: Erickson finally shows up

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He finally broke free!

Washington Redskins v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Now we know what happens when the Bengals go to London, they end up with a tie game they should have won. We also now know what happens when Alex Erickson gets some space to operate in the return game. Here’s our Bengals rookie report for Week 8, which includes some good news, but, a lot of the same things we’ve seen from the rookies up to this point.

Active:

  • Tyler Boyd
  • Alex Erickson
  • Clayton Fejedelem
  • Nick Vigil

Inactive:

  • Cody Core
  • Jeff Driskel
  • KeiVarae Russell
  • Christian Westerman

Tyler Boyd

Tying his season high of six touches, Boyd caught five passes off seven targets for 38 yards and ran the ball once on an end around for three yards. His involvement started early as he converted the first third down of the day for the Bengals:

His next three targets were actually all variants of screens, each one less effective than the last. The first one gained nine yards and went for a first down:

The next gained three yards:

And the third was batted behind the line:

It’s easy to say that the way they were trying to get the ball to Boyd was becoming ever-so predictable as the game went on, and Boyd’s day could’ve been done after that. But then the game went to overtime, where Boyd was targeted three more times, catching two more balls for 18 yards, nine yards on each catch.

And his day could’ve looked a lot better had Dalton not misplaced this pass to him:

The replay angle shows just how inaccurate the pass was by Dalton, on a route concept that he consistently hits almost week in and week out (the seam route):

The ensuing play was Dalton getting sacked, taking the Bengals way out of field goal range (if they weren’t already with Mike Nugent kicking) and forcing them to punt. Giving up the ball when they were the furthest downfield they would get in overtime. Maybe if Boyd is 6’5” with 34” arms, he somehow pulls that in, but he isn’t, and he played pretty well in London. And that, we can live with.

Alex Erickson

After my desperate plea last week, the undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin finally made something happen.

The Bengals won the coin toss and in usual fashion, deferred the ball, giving Washington the first possession. What followed was a drive that lasted almost half of the first quarter in which Washington found the end zone. Coming into a game that could put you back at .500 and possibly keep your season alive, it was basically the opposite kind of start you’d hope for. And there wasn’t a better time for Erickson to finally break off a big one on the following kickoff:

Behind crucial blocks by Margus Hunt and Tyler Kroft, among others, Erickson scattered for 65 yards and gave the Bengals excellent starting field position for the first time all year, and they capitalized by scoring off a Giovani Bernard touchdown a few minutes later.

That was Erickson’s only kickoff return, and here is his sole punt return:

One of those instances was the gunner thought he called for a fair catch but realized too late that he didn’t, Erickson made seven yards out of the little space he had to operate. Which is fine, we’ve now seen what Erickson can do with good blocking, and we all kind of had a feeling he was due, it was just being patient enough to wait for it to transpire.

Clayton Fejedelem and Nick Vigil

Another week of the Bengals defense getting gashed, and another week of these two watching it happen from the sidelines. But, both each had a tackle on a kickoff return, Vigil got his on the opening kickoff, and Fejedelem got his later in the third quarter: (he’s #42 in black in case you forgot)

Coming up

It’s the bye week, and next week we’ll be looking back at some of the rookies’ best moments of the season at the midway point, and how their production could be on the rise as the team rests and begins preparation for the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.