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4 winners and 3 losers from the Bengals’ first 6 games

We reflect on the good and bad stories so far.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

It’s only appropriate that the Cincinnati Bengals enter the bye week at 3-3.

They have been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team this year, with some ugly moments and some beautiful flashes. A few players have far exceeded expectations while a couple of stars have had uncharacteristic starts. Let’s get right into it.


Ja’Marr Chase

Mr. 7/11 himself has 50 catches on this short season, on pace for the second most catches in a season, behind only Michael Thomas, who had 149 in 2019. And accusations of “slant merchant” don’t apply to Chase. He was, until recently, the Bengals’ big play guy. Well now he’s kinda their entire offense.

Trey Hendrickson

Just as Chase is carrying the passing game, Hendrickson is carrying the pass rush. The defensive end now has seven sacks on the season and a few others that were wiped away by penalties. His regular presence in opposing backfields is why he has a Pro Football Focus pass rush grade of 90.9, third best in the league.

Not only is Hendrickson winning, but the attention he’s getting is helping other players get to QBs, like we saw late in the Bengals’ win over the Seattle Seahawks, when Sam Hubbard and B.J. Hill made life for Geno Smith miserable.

Get a little glimpse of how much fun he’s having and how much he’s in the opponents’ heads in this clip from last Sunday:

Logan Wilson

The fourth-year linebacker fresh off a contract extension is everywhere. Against Seattle, he had 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, and a QB hit.

In Cincinnati’s first win of the season against the Los Angeles Rams, Wilson intercepted Matt Stafford twice. And he’s had at least eight tackles four of six games so far.

Wilson plays with fire and a certain dedication to his team, the city, and the game. And that was evident in his Mic’d Up video:

D.J. Turner

We knew the second round pick out of Michigan could fly. We knew he’d add depth and potentially slide into a big role after Chidobe Awuzie.

What we didn’t know was that the soon-to-be-23-year-old was ready to be a shutdown corner and give the Bengals one of the best young cornerback tandems in the league along with Cam Taylor-Britt.

Turner is allowing the lowest passer rating of all rookie CBs.

That’s what happens when you allow just five receptions in 144 coverage snaps.

He’s doing it with a combination of athleticism and excellent ball awareness for a first year player at one of the most difficult positions to adjust to in the NFL.

And if that weren’t enough, he’s also made some huge plays in the run game.

A slam dunk Draft pick that has made Lou Anarumo’s defense the strength of the team once again.


Joe Burrow

The calf injury really limited the QB’s ability to step into throws as well as the plays he could run early in the season. Most importantly, it messed with his confidence.

Well now Burrow seems to be healthy enough to play through it, but his performance is still hot and cold. And that, in part, has resulted in the Bengals having the worst offense in the NFL.

Why now? Ja’Marr Chase is playing out of his mind. The offensive line is better than years before. We’re not quite sure. But don’t be surprised if he figures it out over the bye week. Check out our latest show for more:

Tee Higgins

The star wide receiver is simply not focused this season. He has the lowest catch percentage in the league (41.2%). He’s only catching 18.2% of contested balls. And he’s dropping 17.6% of throws. Ouch.

In a perhaps unrelated parallel, Jessie Bates similarly lost focus during the regular season when his contract situation wasn’t resolved. And both players are represented by David Mulugheta. Hmm.

But is it really just the contract situation hanging over his head? Or is something else going on? Again, we discuss in our show, which you can catch on iTunes or using the player below:

Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan

Burrow is struggling. Higgins is struggling. And Mixon, predictably, is struggling. Even Chase wasn’t being utilized properly until uttering those famous words, “I’m always f—ing open.”

So who’s to blame? Well, when it’s the entire offense that’s disappointing, naturally you have to look to the head coach and offensive coordinator.

Yes, Burrow was injured and Mixon is aging. But making adjustments is what coaches and coordinators are supposed to do. There’s simply too much talent for this offense to be dead last in multiple categories.

The Bengals’ get a chance to redeem themselves against Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers on October 29.