What was heavily speculated throughout the preseason and following Sunday’s victory over the Colts was basically confirmed on Thursday’s beatdown on the Ravens: the Bengals have an explosive offense again.
The quarterback is the same in Andy Dalton, and their are familiar weapons around him in A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. But there are newer faces finally emerging into the talented pieces we hoped they’d become. And while the offensive line isn’t perfect, receivers are getting open quicker, and running back Joe Mixon is showing much more agility after dropping some weight in the offseason.
Things are looking up for Dalton’s squad, and plenty of the top plays from the Bengals Week 2 victory ended up in touchdowns and explosive plays from the offense, but the defense had a turnover filled performance as well. But which play was your favorite? Here are our nominees this week:
Green’s first touchdown of four yards: The beginning of Green’s incredibly efficiently night came off a crosser on a bootleg variation from Dalton. Rolling out to his right from a fake halfback toss from shotgun, Dalton found Green streaking across the back of the end zone in stride for the game’s first points.
Green’s second touchdown of 32 yards: Green’s hard fought run after the catch was what ultimately saw this play end in six points, but the pseudo-slant route/pick by Tyler Boyd in the slot is what occupied edge defender Terrell Suggs for the split second Dalton needed to thread the ball to Green over his outstretched hands. A bad angle by free safety Eric Weddle didn’t hurt either.
Green’s third touchdown of seven yards: Have a day Adriel Jeremiah. On a route that Dalton and Green have had ample success with in the past, Green successfully releases off the line to the outside, sits down on the route and Dalton puts it right where the defender can’t make a play on it. This play marked the first three-touchdown performance of Green’s career.
Jessie Bates’ first career interception: The Bengals drafted Bates in the second-round because of his playmaking ability. The Bengals cut George Iloka and inserted Bates into the starting lineup because of his playmaking ability. Bengals got great field position for their first touchdown drive because of Bates, and his playmaking ability.
We got ourselves a free safety folks.
Geno Atkins sacks Joe Flacco for the second time: Okie fronts and a-gap blitzes aren’t something new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin brought with him to Cincinnati, they’ve been used here since the Mike Zimmer days. A delayed twist with Atkins and Sam Hubbard forced Flacco to run right into a bull-rushing Atkins for the sack.
Tyler Boyd’s 14-yard touchdown: Surprisingly, Green wasn’t the only receiver to find the end zone considering he ended up there three times with the ball in his hands. Boyd capped off an 86-yard first half by turning this drag route into his first touchdown of the year, and second against the Ravens in their last two meetings.
Carlos Dunlap’s hit on Flacco and Shawn Williams’ interception: Pressure is production. Exhibit A: Dunlap wins around the edge against tight end Nick Boyle and is able to hit Flacco’s throwing arm just as he releases a pass down the field. The throw ends up being a duck because of it and Williams just waits for the easiest interception of his life.
Joe Mixon’s 21-yard do-it-yourself run: The Bengals second-year back had a rough night dealing with a knee injury that he now needs minor surgery for, but he had a couple bright moments. The Bengals offensive line struggled all game blocking for outside zone, and by the tail end of the game, Mixon had it with blocking and just decided to run the other way. We think it worked.
Shawn Williams game-sealing strip-sack on Flacco: Williams wasn’t done in this game. A delayed blitz on third down forces Flacco to escape the pocket towards his right, and Williams simply never quits. He adjusts his rush and arrives at the perfect time to knock the ball out of Flacco’s hand right as he begins his throwing motion.
The fumble is recovered by Jordan Willis, and the Bengals make it a two-possession game with a Randy Bullock field goal in the subsequent Bengals drive. For the second week in a row, a forced fumble is what seals the game for the Bengals.
Which play gets your vote for the Bengals’ Play of the Game against the Ravens?
This poll is closed
Green’s first touchdown
Green’s second touchdown
Green’s third touchdown
Atkins’ second sack
Dunlap’s pressure and Williams’ interception