A win against the Steelers is always nice.
The Cincinnati Bengals defeated their division rivals by an astounding 24-10. The Bengals dominated every phase of the game.
It was the Bengals’ first win in Pittsburgh since 2015 (the first in the Zac Taylor era), and it was the first time the Bengals beat the Steelers in back-to-back games since 2012-13.
The Steelers were missing a lot of players, which helped. It doesn’t excuse poor play, as the Steelers of all teams should know. A certain Monday night game from November last year demonstrates that lesson clearly. And the Bengals were missing Tee Higgins in this one.
That said, the Bengals play the Steelers again on November 28th. That’s nine weeks away, which feels like an eternity. The Steelers have plenty of time to get healthy, so that second matchup might not be so easy.
Jackson Carman was promising
The Bengals snapped the Steelers’ streak of 75 straight games with a sack. Even though the Steelers were without All-Pro T.J. Watt, that’s still pretty impressive.
One thing that helped is that the Bengals cleaned up their miscommunication issues. Each week so far, Zac Taylor has blamed a few sacks on the unit as a whole. Those kinds of sacks were the result of bad communication, misreading the defense, or something along those lines. There were none of those on Sunday.
Another reason was that Jackson Carman started in place of Xavier Su’a-Filo.
Out with an ankle injury, Su’a-Filo has probably been the Bengals’ worst lineman in this young season. This week, Carman got the start at right guard and looked promising.
In his first game, he only got a 33.4 rating from PFF, but he had no pressures or sacks given up. The reason for the low grade had more to do with his run blocking, which could use some work.
He made a few rookie mistakes, which is going to happen. But overall, he looked very promising.
Zac Taylor has already announced Carman will start Thursday vs. Jackson, so the rookie will have at least two starts to show he belongs in the starting lineup.
Keep feeding Ja’Marr Chase
So far, the Bengals’ offense is at its best when they target Ja’Marr Chase deep.
Chase is already having a historic rookie year, with four touchdowns in three games and three deep scores of 30+ yards. So far, he looks like has at LSU when he has been targeted.
Even though Chase is second on the team in targets (thanks in part to Tee Higgins missing the Steelers game), he could be targeted a lot more.
Chase has caught four of the seven Bengals’ touchdowns this season, and has been a key part of most Bengals scoring drives. The Bengals move the ball best when Chase gets his hands on it.
Chase is targeted just over five times again. That number needs to be much higher.
B.J. Hill was worth the trade
The Bengals traded Billy Price for B.J. Hill right before cutdown day, and that trade has already paid dividends.
Considering that the Bengals were going to cut Price, they got a very dependable player who will have a very important role going forward.
Hill already has three sacks, which leads the Bengals. He is second on the team in TFLs and QB hits, and he’s not even a starter.
If he retired today, his 2021 season would already be his second-most productive of his four-year career.
Trey Hendrickson is the real deal
When the Bengals signed Trey Hendrickson, some thought that he only played well because Cam Jordan was across from him.
Through three games, Hendrickson has 2.5 sacks, six QB hits, and a forced fumble. He’s not quite on pace to match his production for the Saints last year, but he’s still primed to have a great season. If Sam Hubbard, D.J. Reader, and Larry Ogunjobi continue what they have started, then Hendrickson won’t need that type of production.
The Bengals defensive line looks scary. It’s nice to see all of the money they invested in that line paying off.