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Bengals Week 1 Pro Football Focus grades: Defense shines, o-line and Andy Dalton falter vs Ravens

It was a tale of two units Sunday. The defense stepped up while the offense flamed out.

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 1 performance was about as ugly as a game can be.

That was painfully evident in the Pro Football Focus grades for Week 1, which included a lot of brutal marks for the offense, but it did have some encouraging results for the defense.


One of the main culprits of the offensive struggles was left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who earned a 36.7 overall PFF rating. He graded out below average in run blocking (32.7) and pass blocking (40.6). Ogbuehi was the lowest-rated Bengals lineman to play all 61 snaps, and he allowed two of the Bengals’ five sacks.

The Bengals’ average offensive lineman grade was 44.83 compared to the Ravens 58.9. The Ravens weren’t great in the trenches either, but they were good enough to hold onto a 20-0 win.

Bengals backup guard T.J. Johnson managed to earn the highest PFF grade of any Bengals lineman with a 67.4 grade on 32 snaps. That’s still in PFF’s ‘below average’ tier of grading.

On a more positive note, wide receiver A.J. Green was the only Bengals offensive player to record above an average (70.0) PFF grade with an 80.0 grade, despite Dalton being the worst rated QB this week.

Speaking of, Dalton may have been sacked a lot, but he somehow threw all four of his interceptions when faced with no pressure on 25 dropbacks. He was sacked five times when pressured on 11 snaps. That’s why Dalton earned a 36.9 overall PFF rating.

Rookie running back Joe Mixon earned a 70.7 receiving grade by catching all three of his targets for 15 yards. That didn't help his overall grade, however, which was 49.4. A big reason why was his nine yards rushing on eight attempts.


The Bengals’ ​​Week 1 defensive PFF grades were much more positive. The highest-ranked player was new linebacker Kevin Minter, who scored an 84.4 grade, highlighted by his 88.5 grade in the run defense.​

Three Bengals players were on the field for 65 of 66 snaps, including Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, and Nick Vigil. Both Kirkpatrick (72.3) and Dennard (77.3) earned above average PFF grades.

Nick Vigil didn't fair as well, earning a 47.8 in his first regular-season start. Even in what was a bad game for Vigil, he still managed to intercept Joe Flacco. There’s plenty of reasons to think Vigil will make great strides throughout the season as he gets more accustomed to this defense and his role in it.

Shocker: Geno Atkins currently holds the No. 1 spot in run stop percent after getting four stops in 23 run snaps, a 17.4-percent rate for players with more than 14 run snaps. He also ranked third in interior defender (defensive and nose tackles) pass-rushing productivity with a 19.2-percent pressure rate. Even though Atkins did a lot of damage, he finished with an above average grade of 75.9.

Atkins wasn’t the only one wreaking havoc along the defensive line. Rookie edge rusher Carl Lawson earned the highest PFF grade of any Bengals pass rusher at 81.3. Lawson and Atkins were the only Bengals pass rushers to receive a PFF grade above average (70.0). Lawson pressured Joe Flacco at a 21.4 percent rate.

Fresh off of his big offseason contract, Dre Kirkpatrick finished tied for fifth in the NFL in passer rating allowed with a 39.6 rating. Kirkpatrick was solid all game long, helping limit Flacco to 9-of-17 passing for 121 yards.