The Cincinnati Bengals lost their opening-season home game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thankfully, this could be the low of the season, especially given all the mid-game highs that were brought to fans.
Two game-winning opportunities, including a blocked PAT and missed field goal along with the outcome-changing injury to the team’s long snapper, plagued the Bengals. Giving up just one touchdown and 3 second-half points, the defense looked terrific which is a good bright spot from the 23-20 loss.
Joe Burrow ended with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Joe Mixon had 27 carries for 82 yards. With Tee Higgins out for most of the game with a concussion, Ja’Marr Chase stepped up and totaled 129 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.
Cincinnati will head to Dallas for a Week 2 matchup with the Cowboys. However, prior to that, let’s dive into where analysts have placed the Queen City’s team following their Week 1 loss.
ESPN — No. 7 - Down from No. 5
Volson, a fourth-round pick, made the start at left guard and had some shaky moments. But he showed why the Bengals are so optimistic about his potential. The North Dakota State alum finished with a pass block win rate of 93.1% in the second half, which is above average. Cincinnati knows Volson will have some rookie moments as he continues to adjust to the league. But his work ethic and consistency were major reasons he won the starting job and should boost the left side of the offensive line. — Ben Baby
NFL — No. 7 - Down from No. 5
The Bengals had no business beating the Steelers on Sunday. They also had no business losing to the Steelers on Sunday. It was a weird one. The 23-20 overtime defeat was as disappointing as it will ultimately be memorable — Joe Burrow had a career-worst five turnovers, including four interceptions — but was also set up to be the hero (along with Ja’Marr Chase, of course) had Evan McPherson received some help from the backup long snapper on gimme kicks late in regulation and overtime. Burrow’s hot-and-cold performance isn’t a concern — the offensive line is another story. Burrow (sacked seven times) continues to get hit; the Bengals continue to flirt with disaster.
CBS Sports — No. 11 - Down from No. 5
Joe Burrow looked like he missed the preseason early against the Steelers, but he bounced back. The line still has issues that have to be fixed in order to protect him.
Pro Football Talk — No. 7 - Down from No. 6
They stepped on a rake to start the season, and still almost won.
The Ringer — No. 8 - Down from No. 7
Joe Burrow and the Bengals looked dreadful out of the gate. The offense scored just three points and committed four turnovers, including a Minkah Fitzpatrick pick-six, on their opening five possessions on their way to an early 17-3 deficit. With nowhere really to go but up, Burrow and the rest of the offense improved as the game progressed, but the sheer volume of miscues—most notably a blocked PAT at the end of regulation and a missed field goal in overtime—gave Pittsburgh enough life to eke out a win on the road. The Bengals are a lot better than their Week 1 performance and should get back on the playoff track as Burrow and the new offensive line get more comfortable.
Sporting News — No. 12 - Down from No. 9
The Bengals weren’t exactly Super Bowl hungover against the Steelers, but the camp and preseason layoff for Joe Burrow showed in his turnover woes. Although his big mistakes and special teams cost them, the biggest concerns should be about an offensive line that was supposed to be much improved.
USA Today — No. 7 - Down from No. 3
Not only did QB Joe Burrow serve up a career-high five turnovers, he got sacked seven times Sunday. Last year’s problems have been joined by some new ones in Cincinnati ... at least for a week.
Yahoo! Sports — No. 11
It was a disappointing opener for the defending AFC champions. The way they rallied back against the Steelers was a bright spot, though.