The Cincinnati Bengals were back in the Jungle on Sunday as they looked to build off their win last week with a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
For the first time this season, the Bengals’ offense absolutely erupted and put together a performance that we have been expecting to see all season.
It was complete domination from Joe Burrow, and the seventh-consecutive second half for the defense without allowing a touchdown as the Bengals get the 35-17 win.
The Bengals have not been able to get off to fast starts this season in most games as they kept falling behind early and had to fight their way back into games.
That was not the case in this one as the Bengals received the opening kickoff and went 84-yards in just four plays as Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd for the 60-yard touchdown.
THAT'S how you start a football game.#ATLvsCIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/2Zgb01VCeg— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 23, 2022
After forcing the Falcons to punt, Burrow led a longer 11-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a Joe Mixon touchdown run to make it 14-0.
A three and out gave the Bengals the ball back, and 6-plays later, the Bengals were standing in the end zone once again on a 32-yard touchdown catch by Ja’Marr Chase.
It seemed like the game had just started and the Bengals already held a 21-0 lead. That is about as perfect of a start as you could ask for.
You couldn’t ask for a better start to this game than what we saw from Burrow.
In the first quarter, Burrow completed 13/15 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown as the Bengals built a 14-0 lead in the quarter.
Burrow would go on to finish the first half completing 21/25 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns while the Bengals held a 28-17 lead.
For the game, Burrow completed 34/42 passes for 481 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown in the dominating performance.
A big first half for Burrow resulted in a big first half for Chase as he hauled in five receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns including one that reminded me of the touchdown against the Chiefs in week 17 last season. Made on man miss and outran the defense for six.
Ja'Marr Chase. #ATLvsCIN | FOX pic.twitter.com/HVoWIWbi0w— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 23, 2022
After coming up a little injured at the end of the first half, Chase didn’t have the same explosive success in the second. He finished the game with eight catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Just like Chase, it was a big first half for Boyd as he also hauled in five receptions and added 118-yards and a 60-yard touchdown reception to get the game off to a great start.
Boyd continued to be exactly what we expect from him. Making big catches when his number was called. Finding the soft spots in the Falcons’ defense and giving Burrow easy completions.
For the game, Boyd led the Bengals in receiving yards as he finished with eight catches for 155 yards and a touchdown.
It was a promising start for the Bengals’ defense, but one big mistake by Apple, and 75-yards later it is a completely different ballgame with the Falcons finding the end zone to cut the lead to 28-14 right before the half.
In fact, as the Bengals came out for their second defensive possession of the 2nd half, it was Cam Taylor-Britt in for Apple at CB. Apple will need a rebound performance next week to avoid losing more snaps to the second-round rookie.
The Bengals struggled with defending the run against the Saints a week ago and that was a worry entering today as the Falcons have been a very solid running team.
The Falcons came in averaging just over 165 yards per game on the ground.
They were able to find a lot of success on the ground in the first half as they had 76 yards and a touchdown.
They went on to finish the game with 107 yards, which is below their season average. However, the Bengals’ offensive success forced them to go away from the run in the second half due to their deficit on the scoreboard.
It is clear that the Bengals are missing star defensive tackle DJ Reader up front, and not having Logan Wilson at linebacker made it an even tougher matchup in this one.