For the second time this season, the Bengals played in primetime, and also for the second time, they activated five of their rookies for the gameday roster. And while it was a memorable game for one first year player, it was disappointing game for another. Here’s our Bengals rookie report for Week 10 after the Bengals’ loss to the Giants on Monday Night Football.
- Tyler Boyd
- Cody Core
- Alex Erickson
- Clayton Fejedelem
- Nick Vigil
- Jeff Driskel
- KeiVarae Russell
- Christian Westerman
Last week we talked about Boyd’s first touchdown coming sooner than later. What we didn’t expect was Boyd being the next contestant on “what is a catch?”
In the middle of the third quarter, the Bengals were looking for their second touchdown in six minutes as they were faced with a third-and-five just inside the red zone. Andy Dalton found Boyd on a slick post route out of the slot and just as he was maintaining possession of the catch, he was tackled low, forcing him to reach for the goal line with barely any grasp on the ball.
As the ball popped out when he reached the ground, the play was called an incompletion, as he did not fully complete the process of a catch. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
The replay angle gives a more clear picture:
To me, it looks like two feet were down, establishing himself as a runner, and the ball crossing the plane in his possession. But just like the Eifert’s non-catch a year ago, he got the short end of the ruling because he didn’t complete the catch going to the ground.
Boyd finished the game with two catches for 12 yards, both on screen plays.
Cody Core and Alex Erickson
At least someone had a good outing besides Geno Atkins. After taking back a 66-yard return in London two weeks ago, Erickson started the second half last night with a bang:
I’m grouping Core with Erickson because both were the stars of that kick return.
On the replay angle, you can see Core in the middle of the field sealing the widest man who Erickson would have to deal with to turn the corner and get down the sideline. And when I say sealing, I mean abusing:
Being in special teams ace James Wright’s shoes for the night, this is exactly what the team wanted out of Core.
Erickson’s new career long 84 yard return set up the offense inside the red zone, and Jeremy Hill scored two plays later.
Erickson also established a career long 18 yard punt return as well:
Erickson is pretty effective when he gets some space to work with.
Clayton Fejedelem and Nick Vigil
It’s become a common theme that not only do these two end up with tackles on kickoff returns, they’re usually the guys who make the initial contact. And that’s what happened on Monday again.
Vigil did an excellent job of sealing the returner’s hole after shedding his block here:
And Fejedelem met up with Rex Burkhead as they initiated the swarm on the return man:
The Bengals return home to Paul Brown Stadium for the first time in a month this week. How they will be received when they get there? I don’t know, but the team hasn’t been this desperate for a regular season win in a while. So they could use more of the recent Erickson we’ve been witnessing, and if Tyler Boyd can actually finish a catch in the end zone (sorry), that’d be nice to see as well. We’re also still waiting to see if first-round pick William Jackson will be activated off Injured Reserve. That could happen this week, too.