The Bengals knocked the Raiders back to the dirt and won for the first time since late October.
However, the roster from that win in Week 8 looks drastically different than the one finishing the Bengals’ home finale in Week 15. Players like A.J. Green and Andy Dalton are on injured reserve, and now Cincinnati is holding its breathe they don’t have to add anyone else to that list after two talented young players left the game against Oakland.
Tyler Boyd suffered what’s being reported as a low-grade MCL sprain. While it’s not a serious injury, it could be enough to sideline Boyd for one or both of Cincinnati’s remaining two regular-season games.
Obviously this was an injury the Bengals really couldn’t afford, but how many times have we heard that this season? This one really hurt as it pretty much halted Cincinnati’s offensive production for most of the second half. Boyd also just secured his first 1,000 yard receiving season of his career.
Boyd was replaced with a combination of Alex Erickson and Cody Core. Surprisingly, that didn’t create much success for Jeff Driskel and the passing game. It was already bad enough without A.J. Green, but without both he and Boyd, you may have a hard time watching this offense.
Fortunately, Boyd says he should be ready to go for next week, but we will have to wait and see what the doctors say.
Evans actually took over as the nickel linebacker opposite of Nick Vigil with Vontaze Burfict out. It didn’t last long as Evans exited with an ankle injury. That forced Vincent Rey (who also missed some time during the game with an injury before returning) and Hardy Nickerson into a more substantial role. We even saw a few glimpses of Malik Jefferson.
Linebacker has been an issue all season, and Evans has been one of the more dependable guys to stay on the field. If he misses time it could be a rough go for that group as Rey and Nickerson each have struggled when forced to play a big part of the game.
Bengals inactives/prior injuries
- LB Vontaze Burfict
- CB KeiVarae Russell
- CB Devontae Harris
- TE Jordan Franks
- OL Cedric Ogbuehi
- WR Josh Malone
- DE Kasim Edebali
The Bengals got a big lift with Dre Kirkpatrick and Cordy Glenn returning to action. Burfict wasn’t able to get through the concussion protocol in time to play this week, which played a major role when the Bengals had to go deep into their reserves.
Josh Malone was another noteworthy inactive. He seems to have been a healthy scratch this week, as he didn’t appear on the injury report on Friday. That led to the Bengals relying heavily on Erickson and Core for most of the game.
With Boyd’s injury now an issue, the Bengals will likely have to play Malone in the final two games.