Once again, Evan McPherson gives the Bengals a game-winning kick.
The Bengals scared the Cincinnati faithful going into halftime with a 14-point deficit. But nonetheless, the Bengals pull out a last-second win to go 3-1 so far.
So the Bengals are good, right? Not necessarily. The last time the Bengals went 3-1 to start the season, they ended 6-9-1 and Marvin Lewis lost his job.
The Bengals have a test against the Packers next Sunday. Green Bay looked lost in their first start against the Saints, but put the Lions away easily in their next game. They sit at the top of their division right now, and will probably get another win against the Steelers this week.
Fortunately for the Bengals, they get a long week before their toughest opponent. Hopefully, Tee Higgins and Chidobe Awuzie can return from their injuries, and the Bengals will be able to steal a win from the Packers.
How do the Bengals look after their last win? Here’s what we learned:
C.J. Uzomah is having the best season of his career
In two of the three Bengals wins, C.J. Uzomah has made a play to help put the game away. Joe Burrow went to him on a crucial fourth down conversion in overtime to help defeat the Vikings. On Thursday night, Uzomah not only had two touchdowns, but the catch on the screen that put the Bengals in field goal range.
Through four games, Uzomah has the highest yards per reception, second-highest catch percentage (behind only his rookie year in which he caught his only target), and the highest yards per target. He is on pace for 570 yards, which would be a career high by well over 100 yards.
Every year under Zac Taylor, Uzomah has gotten better and better. Whether it is because Tyler Eifert isn’t ahead of him on the depth chart or Taylor’s offense features him well, Uzomah has been crucial this season. He may not put up the numbers of someone like Travis Kelce, but he is there when Burrow needs him.
Logan Wilson is having a monster season
Linebacker Logan Wilson came into Thursday Night tied for first in the NFL in interceptions and second in total tackles.
While he didn’t have an interception against the Jaguars, he did have 11 tackles, the Bengals’ only sack, and the tackle on the game-changing goal-line stand.
In the postgame press conference, Burrow referred to that stop as a “hidden play.” If Trevor Lawrence gets into the end zone on that play, then the Bengals’ comeback becomes that much harder. Instead of kicking a field goal to win, the Bengals would have had to score a touchdown to force overtime.
The Bengals have not had a good middle linebacker in years, and have probably never had one like Wilson. He has been one of the keys to the defensive improvement this year.
On a side note, Larry Ogunjobi also helped on the fourth-down stop. How poetic that he and Wilson were in on the stop and have been two of the best Bengals defenders this year.
Zac Taylor needs to be more consistent
Zac Taylor should get credit for getting the Bengals out of a 14-0 hole, but he should also get credit for getting the Bengals into the 14-0 hole.
It’s been a trend this year that the Bengals’ offense takes too long to get going. Not only do the Bengals have one first-quarter touchdown this year, they have one touchdown in the first 28 minutes of play of every game combined this year. Of the four first half touchdowns this year, three of them have come from the two-minute drill.
This tendency to wait 28 minutes to score is maddening. If the trend continues, Taylor will have to engineer a lot more fourth quarter/overtime comebacks this year.
Once the Bengals start scoring, they can put up points. The Bears’ game is evidence of that, after the Bengals scored two touchdowns in just over one minute. 24 second-half points against the Jaguars would be a lot more impressive if they didn’t lay a goose egg in the first half.
If the Bengals wait 28 minutes to score against the Packers, then the game will be over before halftime.