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NFL Week 2 Power Ranking Roundup: Bengals starting to climb

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The Bengals may still be near the bottom of most power rankings, but they have taken the first step towards getting out of the basement of the NFL.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are coming off a very hard fought loss in Seattle, which is one of the hardest places to play in the NFL. Before the week started, it felt like Cincinnati was being given a litmus test to see where these new Bengals measure up, and the results were pretty refreshing.

Playing a team like the Seahawks to the end like that is something most people didn’t expect. Cincinnati was the biggest underdog heading into the week after all.

A win probably would’ve shot the Bengals up quite a bit in the power rankings, given that they started near the bottom of everyone’s rankings, but even in the loss most experts were pleasantly surprised by this new team in Cincinnati.

NFL.com: 24

This was a promising start for the Bengals, even in defeat. Cincinnati walked into a hostile environment and went punch for punch with the Seahawks for four quarters. The final score doesn’t reflect it, but it felt like the Bengals were the better team, as contradictory as that might seem. Cincy’s defense held Seattle to 233 yards of total offense, and Andy Dalton -- in his ninth season and first game under new coach Zac Taylor -- set a career high with 418 passing yards. Dalton reached that benchmark not with superstar receiver A.J. Green (out with an ankle injury), but instead with third-year pro John Ross, who played like the ace Green counterpart the Bengals expected him to be when they selected him ninth overall in 2017. It makes you wonder if we underestimated how much this offense will improve in the post-Marvin Lewis era. The next step for Taylor’s team is to figure out how to win games like this.

ESPN: 27

How the newcomer starred: Cincinnati’s rookies had a relatively quiet day, but Michael Jordan held his own at left guard against a quality Seattle defensive front. Jordan played every snap of the 21-20 loss and had a solid performance, according to first-year coach Zac Taylor.

CBS Sports: 24

They showed some impressive stuff against Seattle last Sunday. The defensive front will keep them in a lot of games.

Sports Illustrated: T-24

Nice little bump up after a tight road loss at Seattle. Zac Taylor might lift Andy Dalton over the Andy Dalton line.

Washington Post: 27

The Bengals were unexpectedly competitive in Seattle in Zac Taylor’s first game as an NFL head coach. Andy Dalton threw for 418 yards and two TDs and looked like a revitalized QB. Still, throwing 51 passes and having only 14 rushing attempts will not be the way to go every week.

USA Today: 25

Very early returns suggest new Cincinnati boss Zac Taylor a stronger limb of Sean McVay coaching tree than former colleague Matt LaFleur.

Bleacher Report: 27

If there was one team that won even though it lost, it has to be the Cincinnati Bengals, who headed to CenturyLink Field, arguably the hardest stadium to play in. More than a few pundits expected the Bengals to get blasted by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. Instead, they were in the game the whole way and led in the second half. Veteran quarterback Andy Dalton had his best performance in a long time, passing for a career-best 418 yards and a pair of touchdowns in new head coach Zac Taylor’s debut.

The Bengals are hosting the 49ers on Sunday, and defeating them could go a long way into rising up the early rankings.