It was a long five weeks for the Cincinnati Bengals, and maybe a bye is what they needed. The team started 0-3, and all the talk was about how little of a chance the Bengals had at the postseason. The team then won two games, and they remain in the hunt for the division title with a game against the Steelers this week.
Before we get to that, let’s hand out some awards for the Bengals so far during this season. Let’s take a look at what offensive player has been the MVP for this team so far, as well as an honorable mention.
Andy Dalton: Dalton had a rough start to the season. He turned the ball over five times against the Ravens, and then he struggled against the ailing Texans. The Bengals failed to score a single touchdown these two weeks, and it led to the firing of the team’s offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.
Since then the Bengals appointed Bill Lazor as the offensive coordinator, and it has paid off for Dalton. He has thrown all seven of his touchdowns during those three weeks, and he has only thrown two interceptions.
As with most teams in the NFL, the quarterback gets plenty of credit for when the team is playing well, but they burden the blame when their team struggles. There are plenty of reasons why Dalton struggled early, which includes the terrible offensive line and play calling.
Still, he wasn’t blameless innocent from the team’s struggles. Against the Packers, the offense only scored 17 points and allowed Aaron Rodgers to lead a comeback.
For as much as Dalton’s turnaround has been the Bengals turnaround there is still a more valuable Bengal offensively.
Bengals Offensive MVP
A.J. Green: Green is the easiest and most obvious choice because he means that much to this offense. Last year we saw what this team looks like without Green, and it isn’t good. This year we saw him not targeted as much during the first two games. Green went without a catch in the second half of the Texans game, and he let everyone know how frustrated he was about it.
Some people say that led to the change in coaching, but the next week against Green Bay Green wasted no time catching the Bengals first touchdown of the season. He also finished the game with 10 catches for 111 yards. He has caught a touchdown every week since Lazor took over.
Green was a mixed bag against the Bills. He dropped two passes that resulted in interceptions, and he fumbled the ball. It was very uncharacteristic of him, but he finished the game with 189 yards, so it is hard to say the Bengals would’ve won without him. He Caught a 77-yard touchdown for the first score of the game, and he had a huge catch and run, which set up Joe Mixon’s first touchdown that gave the Bengals the lead in the fourth quarter.
Through five games, Green has 32 catches for 504 yard and three touchdowns. He has been the catalyst for the rest of the offense, and hopefully, he continues to keep opposing defenses’ attention while the Bengals get back on track.
Who do you think should be the Bengals’ offensive MVP of the first five games?