Familiar offensive struggles made the beginning of the game feel close, but Lou Anarumo’s defense came through once again and shut out the Lions’ offense for the first three quarters of the day.
Here are the winners and losers from Cincinnati’s 34-11 victory over Detroit.
Chris Evans: For years, Evans had been underused during his time at the University of Michigan. In his first time back in the Great Lakes State, Evans took advantage of a one-on-one matchup with linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and hauled in his first-career touchdown for the game’s first score. He was not done after that. Along with expertly picking up a blitz on the game’s longest play, he ran for 18 yards on four carries and caught two more passes for a grand total of 49 yards.
Joe Mixon: We got close to the full Mixon show in Detroit. While he wasn’t 100% recovered from his ankle injury, Mixon played like he was. He got his first receiving touchdown of the year on a creative fourth-down call that set the game to blowout territory. That 40-yard score helped Mixon rack up 59 yards through the air to go with his 94 yards on the ground.
Vonn Bell: He isn’t a perfect player, but Bell does things that very few Bengals defenders in recent memory have been able to do. Stripping Amon-Ra St. Brown of his 25-yard reception the millisecond before St. Brown went to the ground was the game’s second-biggest play from an Expected Points Added perspective. The ball landed in Logan Wilson’s grasp for Wilson’s fourth interception of the year, but Bell deserves all the credit for the play.
Trey Hendrickson: Hendrickson’s 2020 season continues to be validated. He drew THREE first-half holding penalties, including one against Penei Sewell. Hendrickson had his way vs. Detroit’s first-round tackle for most of the game. He only notched one sack on the box score, but he was the Bengals’ best pass rusher once again in this game.
Logan Wilson: Another active game for the Bengals’ energetic linebacker. Wilson notched a couple tackles behind the line of scrimmage and consistently fulfilled his coverage responsibilities. That was never more clear than when he ended up with the ball after Bell’s incredible play.
Ja’Marr Chase: Like clockwork, Chase provided a spark right before half-time. A dime from Joe Burrow ended up in Chase’s hands down the right sideline. He hauled in another deep reception as well, which got him to a team-high 97 receiving yards on the day. His best play, however, may’ve been the block that paved the way for Mixon’s touchdown. It was so impressive it revived a once dead meme and gave it new life.
Auden Tate: The fourth-year receiver doubled his career touchdown total when the backups came in late in the fourth quarter. Tate got the offense inside the 10-yard line by drawing pass interference, and then caught a seven-yard score from Brandon Allen.
Evan McPherson: Kicking in a dome sure boosts confidence. McPherson was two-for-two for field goals and four-for-four on extra point attempts.
Trey Hill: Whether it was a game-time decision or not, Hill got the call to start for Jackson Carman at right guard. A holding and false start on back-to-back first quarter plays helped get Hill benched for Carman before half-time, but he had to come back in for Carman in the third quarter. It was not a great first impression for the sixth-round pick.
Riley Reiff: A homecoming for Reiff was unfortunately plagued with miscues in pass protection. Most of the Lions’ pressures came from the right side of the Bengals’ offensive line. The veteran right tackle looked much better run blocking against one of his former teams.
Darius Phillips: The only thing Phillips had going for him this year was being the main punt returner. He got one return in this game before Trenton Irwin came in for him in the first quarter. Irwin didn’t look much better, but this is certainly not great for Phillips. If he lost his role on special teams, he’s just a backup cornerback and nothing more now.