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5 things we learned from the Bengals’ win over the Lions

We learned a lot about the 2021 draft class.

NFL: OCT 17 Bengals at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Zac Taylor is finally getting mad

It was disappointing last week listening to Zac Taylor talk about the results against the Packers. He didn’t seem to care that the Cincinnati Bengals had three chances to win the game following missed Mason Crosby field goals.

Instead, he had a “you win some, you lose some” attitude. It seemed like he expected Aaron Rodgers to blow them out, and he was just happy they kept it so close.

But against the Lions, Taylor finally showed some frustration.

When penalties cancelled out any offensive progress the Bengals made, they only scored 10 points by halftime against a Lions team that they should have demolished. Taylor was finally frustrated.

During the broadcast, and again after the game, Taylor said that he was frustrated the Bengals didn’t score more than 10 in the first half.

If Taylor is going to win another four games this year, Taylor will need to get upset. He’ll have to get rid of the “losing happens” attitude and start setting higher expectations for himself and for the team.

Chris Evans was a steal

With Samaje Perine out, it was time Chris Evans time.

With Giovani Bernard in Tampa, he left a hole on the Bengals roster that Perine can’t fill. It’s not that Perine is a bad football player, but he is just a different kind of athlete.

But Evans was able to do the things we were used to seeing Bernard do. He had 49 receiving yards, including a 24-yard touchdown reception. He had some good blocks in pass protection. He even had 4.5 yards per carry on the ground.

Evans was a steal for a sixth round pick. He is a great compliment to Joe Mixon, and he will probably see a spike in snaps over the coming weeks.

Trey Hill has some learning to do...but could still be really good

The Bengals got Trey Hill in the sixth round of the draft, and got a good deal for the price.

Hill was a player who was physically gifted, but the Bengals knew he would be a project. He was only a junior, and might have stayed at Georgia if the NIL rule changes had happened by the draft.

He got his first start after Jackson Carman came off the COVID-19 list only days before the game. In his second drive, he had two penalties that backed up the Bengals to third-and-long, which resulted in an interception.

Taylor benched him for Carman, until Carman lost his battle with Mom’s spaghetti.

Hill came back and played at right guard, then played some center during garbage time. He didn’t have any penalties or any other mistakes for the rest of the game.

It can’t be easy to be a 21-year-old rookie and get benched two possessions into your first start. It takes an incredible amount of mental toughness to be able to come back in and play the way he did.

Hill may not be a starting lineman in the NFL right now, but he showed some maturity and toughness after returning to the game. If that is a true reflection of his attitude, then he will be a good NFL player soon. It may not be this season, but he has what it takes to run the pro football gauntlet.

Jackson Carman is becoming who the Bengals thought he would be

Speaking of right guards, Carman is steadily rounding into form.

Carman had COVID-19 last week, and didn’t become eligible to play until Friday. When Hill struggled, Carman came on and played his best football of the season.

The fact that Carman could come back from an illness and play at that level is incredible. He clearly wasn’t at 100 percent, as he couldn’t finish the game.

This version of Carman at 100 percent would be great for Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon.

We can stop comparing Ja’Marr Chase and Penei Sewell

Ja’Marr Chase is a good football player. Penei Sewell is a good football players. Both the Bengals and the Lions got good football players in the draft.

So far, Chase has the most receiving yards through six games than any rookie receiver has had since Randy Moss. He had not only a great day receiving, but had the key block on Mixon’s touchdown.

While Sewell had a penalty, and there was a sack that was not technically on him but probably should have been, he had a good game for the most part.

Both picks are turning out to be great additions to their respective teams. There is no need to compare Sewell and Chase anymore.

But the Chase pick was more than just Chase. Carman factors into the pick as well, since the Bengals had a need at offensive line as well. The choice really came down to Chase plus a second round lineman, or Sewell plus a second round receiver.

As mentioned earlier, Carman looks to be overcoming some early struggles to fulfill his end of the deal.

Passing on Sewell at 5th overall has worked out for both teams. The Bengals are 4-2 with Chase leading the team in receiving touchdowns. The Lions have a bad record, but they are at a different point in rebuilding mode than the Bengals were.