The Cincinnati Bengals are exactly who we thought they were before the start of the season: the AFC champs with a revamped line.
Did they have a rough start to the season? Yes. But they figured it out quickly and are now just one game back of the best record in the AFC.
So what did we learn from their team-effort against the Kansas City Chiefs, a 27-24 victory that could’ve been even bigger for Cincinnati?
Let’s get right into it.
Joe Burrow can get the best out of anyone
In previous weeks, we saw the Bengals quarterback get production out of Trenton Irwin and Hayden Hurst. This week, he had a go-ahead touchdown pass to running back Chris Evans.
BENGALS TD.— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
Cincy takes the lead with 8:54 left!
: #KCvsCIN on CBS
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/KRUwj1CkWe pic.twitter.com/caHja5V5px
That was only his third reception of the year and his first touchdown. While Samaje Perine has been carrying the bulk of the load with Joe Mixon out, that play reminded everyone that there are other talented backs on the roster who, if given the chance, can shine. Just another demonstration of Burrow’s ability to keep his teammates motivated.
Samaje Perine is a tone setter on offense
Justin Reid ran his mouth. And so what did Perine do? Shove that man down to the ground.
Perine dribbles Justin Reid like a basketball pic.twitter.com/MaFT6H1IQc— Tino Bovenzi (@TinoBovenzi) December 4, 2022
This just one week after he did the same thing to the Tennessee Titans, a team that is known for its physicality. And Perine gave Reid the treatment the entire game. Pay attention to the little elbow he gave the safety at around the 13-second mark of this video:
#Chiefs Safety Justin Reid spent the week leading up to the Cincy game claiming he'll look down #Bengals players. That led to a war of words with star WR Ja’Marr Chase.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 5, 2022
On Sunday, Samaje Perine treated Reid like a ragdoll throughout the Week 13 win.pic.twitter.com/Da5F2IQZ7c
If Burrow is the maestro who keeps the chains moving, Perine is the bass drum player who gives off a loud boom to let the opponent know we mean business.
Cordell Volson is no longer a weak link
The rookie guard held his own against Chris Jones, and that is no small task. For that, he earned the highest grade of any Bengal from Pro Football Focus:
Highest graded Bengals in Week 13 win vs Chiefs:— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) December 5, 2022
Cordell Volson - 76.6
Vonn Bell - 74.7
Joe Burrow - 73.6
4️⃣ Ja’Marr Chase - 73.4
5️⃣ Samaje Perine - 72.3 pic.twitter.com/qCfix0Xbva
And that is part of a trend, as Volson has been outstanding in recent weeks.
Over the last 3 weeks, 4th round rookie Cordell Volson has faced 3 of the top interior pass rushers in the game in Cam Heyward, Jeffery Simmons and Chris Jones.— Andrew Russell (@Andrew_Russell7) December 5, 2022
On 102 pass pro reps vs these guys, he has only surrendered:
1 QB Hit
2 QB Hurries
Cam Taylor-Britt is going to be a big playmaker very soon
The rookie corner came real close to picking off Patrick Mahomes in the second corner and was the CB2 in an outstanding performance against the MVP frontrunner. The only Chiefs wide receiver to top 35 yards was Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had 42 of his 71 yards when he beat Eli Apple and Vonn Bell deep after Cincinnati decided to blitz Mahomes.
Ja’Marr Chase is healthy
The second-year receiver came back from a hip injury to catch seven of eight targets for 97 yards. Chase streaked down the sideline for a 40 yard gain late in the second quarter.
#Bengals QB Joe Burrow connects with WR Ja'Marr Chase for a 40-yard gain. #Chiefs CB Joshua Williams on the coverage. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/Shp6XpdiRO— Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) December 4, 2022
He also made an acrobatic one-handed catch that didn’t count because he couldn’t get his feet inbounds.
FILTHY almost catch by Ja'Marr Chase pic.twitter.com/nQJsmCJk6l— Cincinnati (@CincyProblems) December 4, 2022
So while he didn’t have a touchdown or torch the Chiefs for over 200 yards again, he did look like himself, which is fantastic news.
What else can we take away from Cincinnati’s inspiring win over the Kansas City Chiefs? And what kind of gameplan will they put together to finally upend the Browns? We discussed in our most recent show:
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