For the first time in nearly two years, the Cincinnati Bengals have gone back-to-back weeks without losing a game. Any victory is a good victory when the season is in danger of being severely altered due to COVID-19, so we’ll take what we can get ’round these parts. Especially when the win is by just a single score.
These are our winners and losers from the Bengals’ 33-25 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Joe Mixon: Have a day, Mr. $48 million man. Finally with a good matchup in the trenches, Mixon not only minimized the negative plays, he capitalized on the big ones. 151 yards on 25 attempts and two touchdowns put him at a season-high 0.28 expected points added per rush. It was more than just how bad the Jaguars were on defense, Mixon made plays on his own as well. These are the games the front office expected when they extended the 24-year old running back.
Tee Higgins: It’s no surprise that Joe Burrow feels he has the best chemistry with Higgins. They may not have connected on every single target, but Higgins continues to impress as Burrow’s preferred downfield option. He finished with 77 yards on four receptions.
Joe Burrow: While Mixon had his best game of the season, Burrow put together another solid performance. This time, it came with a win as well. 61% of Burrow’s drop backs were successful from an EPA perspective, and he became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards in three-consecutive games.
Tyler Boyd: If it wasn’t for a rare penalty on Trey Hopkins, Boyd’s day would’ve been a lot like his game from last week. Even without that 16-yard touchdown, Boyd finished with 90 yards on seven receptions, consistently torching the Jaguars’ secondary over the middle.
The offensive line: You know, no sacks is no sacks. Credit to the line for keeping Burrow clean for most of the game. Burrow was hit a few times, but there were rarely any blatantly bad plays from the unit. They also paved the way for Mixon to do his thing.
Jordan Evans: With Logan Wilson on the sideline, Evans got on the field for the defense for the first time this season. His first snap: an interception. Evans played a decent amount on defense and came away with a half-sack on blitz as well.
Jessie Bates III: It’s pretty clear the best player on Cincinnati’s defense is Bates. He deflected the pass that led to Evans’ interception. Later on, he had a key pass breakup on Tyler Eifert. On the Jaguars second-to-last drive, he got through to the backfield for a third down stop and prevented a near touchdown later in the drive. Bates is playing his butt off, and a big payday looks to be in store in 2021.
A.J. Green: What’s going on here? Green was involved in the passing game early on, but something was evident when he and Burrow couldn’t connect down the field on the first drive of the game. Green officially looks past his prime, like way past it. Green came up a bit shaken on his third target of the game and was just a non-factor throughout the game. This may be the beginning of the end. officially.
Two-minute defense: Penalty issues aside, this defense continues to allow scores and big plays in an attempt to bend and not break. Gardner Minshew II and the Jags’ offense generated 136 yards on a combined 12 plays in their final drives of both halves. When the competition gets better and the games end up being closer, this issue can snowball into something greater.