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Bengals midseason awards: Best play of the first half

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Through eight games, what’s been the Bengals’ best play of the season?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Despite many experts looking down on the Bengals, they still are in the playoff picture halfway into the season. There are problems with the team, but there are also many positives to look at as well.

The offense has been much improved since last year. Now the full-time offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor has been trying to work explosive plays into the Bengals’ game. This has given us many highlights on offense to enjoy. On top of that, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been stressing turnovers, so that means more exciting plays on defense as well.

So with so many options to chose from, which play stands out above all the others as the best play so far this season?

Honorable Mentions:

A.J. Green’s second touchdown in Week 2 vs. the Ravens: Green loves playing the Ravens, and entering the Bengals’ Thursday night clash against their divisional foe, he had 48 catches for 819 yards and six touchdowns in 10 career games against Baltimore. He added another masterful performance in Week 2 this season, scoring three touchdowns in the first half. His second touchdown was the most impressive as he wrestled a third down catch away from the defenders, took the ran the ball into the end zone for a 32-yard score to help the Bengals win that game 34-23.

John Ross’ touchdown in Week 4 vs. the Falcons: After missing almost all of his rookie season, Ross has the potential to be the Bengals’ secret weapon. His most impressive play this year came in the shootout against the Falcons on this 39-yard reception, despite injuring himself on the play.

A.J. Green’s touchdown in Week 4 vs. the Falcons: Not only was Green’s only touchdown in Atlanta a physically impressive one, but it was also emotionally charged. In Green’s first NFL game in his offseason home, he scored the game-winning touchdown with six seconds left in the contest in front of his friends and family to finish out the 37-36 win.

Joe Mixon’s touchdown in Week 5 vs. the Dolphins: After falling behind 17-0 in the second quarter, the Bengals went on to score 27 unanswered points to seal the game. Joe Mixon scored the only offensive touchdown of the game for the Bengals, and it was a beauty. He had to adjust to an under-thrown ball, and beat Kiko Alonso to the endzone for the 18-yard score to open the fourth quarter.

Michael Johnson and Sam Hubbard’s touchdowns in Week 5 vs. the Dolphins: These two plays were both key parts of the Bengals’ 27-point run, so we’ll lump them together. Late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals’ defensive line put the pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill and forced him to throw an errant pass. The ball was deflected and fell into Michael Johnson’s arms, and he returned the ball for a touchdown to tie the game at 17 points a piece. On the next drive, Carlos Dunlap knocked the ball out of Tannehill’s hand, so Sam Hubbard scooped up the loose ball and took it to the house to put the game away at 27-17.

Joe Mixon’s 43-yard run Week 8 vs the Buccaneers: Mixon had an amazing game in his most recent appearance to date, with 21 carries, 123 yards, and two touchdowns. His most impressive play didn’t go to the end zone like all the other plays on this list, but it was still an amazing team effort. Trey Hopkins and Clint Boling pulled around the edge to give Mixon an easy running lane, while Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson held their blocks downfield. Mixon ran 35 yards before being contacted and broke two tackles to set up a Green touchdown on the very next play in the Bengals’ 37-34 win.

Top play of the first half

Clayton Fejedelem’s forced fumble and recovery for a touchdown in Week 1 vs. the Colts: The Bengals outdid themselves early as a play from Week 1 takes the cake. Up 27-23 late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals were trying to keep Andrew Luck out of the end zone in his first game back after missing a full season. Luck and the Colts were driving, and it looked like the Colts would score. Tight end Jack Doyle caught the ball at the Bengals’ 20-yard line with only 40 seconds remaining in the game. Clayton Fejedelem, who was in because Shawn Williams was ejected in the first quarter, laid down the hit and forced the ball out. He then recovered the loose ball and returned it for an 83-yard touchdown. This play set the tone for the season, as the “Cardiac Cats” would become the theme for the first half of the year with the Bengals securing most of their wins with fourth quarter heroics.

Poll

What gets your vote for the top play?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Green’s TD vs. the Ravens
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    Ross’ TD vs. the Falcons
    (5 votes)
  • 34%
    Green’s TD vs. the Falcons
    (64 votes)
  • 1%
    Mixon’s TD vs. The Dolphins
    (3 votes)
  • 18%
    Johnson’s/Hubbard’s TDs vs. the Dolphins
    (34 votes)
  • 1%
    Mixon’s 43-yard run vs. the Buccaneers
    (3 votes)
  • 37%
    Fejedelem’s TD vs. the Colts
    (69 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (2 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now