The last time the Bengals and Eagles met during the regular season was in 2016, and if you were told one of those teams was going to win the Super Bowl the next season, I doubt anyone was going to expect it was the Eagles.
The Bengals won the game, 32-14, and it was really over well before the Eagles added their touchdowns late in the third and early in the fourth.
Despite the Bengals being without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, they were able to roll past the Eagles that Sunday. Andy Dalton was one of the main reasons for the win. Dalton threw for over 300 yards while adding two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was able sit back there and dissect the Eagles’ defense all game long. He threw several pretty passes down the field to the likes of Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and even Cody Core.
In fact, watching the game it makes you wonder how this offense could fall so far after only one season. LaFell finished with 95 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Eifert finished with 25 yards and Dalton’s other touchdown. Even Jeremy Hill rushed for a touchdown.
Despite his rushing touchdown, Hill had an extremely inefficient day. He ran the ball 23 times for only 33 yards. He also had two catches for 12 yards. Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead had 12 total touches for 66 yards. However, he did fumble the ball to start off the fourth quarter to help give the Eagles a little bit of hope.
Carson Wentz didn’t have a great day at the office either. He threw the ball 60 times only completing 36 of those throws. He also threw three interceptions, two of which ended up in Vontaze Burfict ’s arms. He surpassed 300 yards and threw a touchdown, but his turnovers really ended any hopes of a comeback victory for the Eagles that day.
Wentz ended up being the second leading rusher on the team with 16 yards rushing. The leading rusher was Wendell Smallwood with 19 yards. Darren Sproles also ran the ball seven times including a touchdown, but he ended the day with only 14 yards rushing. Ultimately, the Eagles had a very rough time getting anything going on the ground.
Through the air, though, the Eagles had six player have at least four catches. The leading receivers included Zach Ertz’s nine catches for 79 yards and a touchdown as well as Paul Turner with six catches for 80 yards. Turner didn’t make the team in 2017, and a vast majority of his career stats come from his game against the Bengals.
The most surprising part of that game was that the Eagles failed to sack Dalton a single time. It was so far and away from what we saw this past season that you’d think it was highlights from 2015.
So how did these teams end up in such a different position in 2017?
Well, the Eagles went out and brought in a ton of players through free agency. They added guys like Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount and Torrey Smith to their offense. They kept making the offensive and defensive line a priority to improve upon, and now they have one of the best offensive and defensive lines in the NFL.
They basically had a very aggressive offseason, and the coaches did a fantastic job at building around the players in the building that were buying in, something the Bengals failed to do as they let talented veteran players walked, and did little to nothing to replace them.
But hey, at least we beat the Super Bowl champs in 2016.