Will the real Cincinnati Bengals please stand up?
One week, the Bengals seem to be making a move into the elite. 34 points scored against the Arizona Cardinals had most Cincinnati fans feeling good heading into Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite a strong start, the Bengals’ offense looked like the team that lost three of their first four games while averaging just over 12 points per game.
Although the defense denied the Seahawks on three of their five trips into the red zone and allowed a touchdown and two field goals, the continued disappearance of an offense that was supposed to be among the best in the NFL has not come close to reaching its full potential.
And that all starts with the most important member of this team.
Stock down: Joe Burrow
Burrow started the game on fire, at one point completing 15 straight passes. He went into the half having connected on 18 of 22 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, good for an overall rating of 124.1. Then things got ugly.
In the second half, Burrow completed just 6 of 13 passes for 42 yards and an interception. His final rating was 88.4, and frankly, he was lucky to get that. After a Cam Taylor-Britt interception gave the Bengals a first down at the Seattle 34, Burrow missed three straight passes, and he wasn’t even close.
For the season, Burrow has completed 63.4% of his passes for 1,230 (5.3 yards per attempt) and seven TDs vs. four picks with four fumbles and 14 sacks taken. His 40.0 QBR ranks 26th in the NFL.
Stock up: WR Tyler Boyd
Boyd came into the game averaging nearly five receptions and just over 33 yards per game. He left with his most catches of the season so far (seven) for 38 yards and his first touchdown, an eight-yard dart from quarterback Joe Burrow that evened the score at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
Boyd was targeted seven times during the game and made good on each one. Widely recognized as one of the top slot receivers in the game, the University of Pittsburgh alum is in the final year of his contract and may be auditioning for next year’s team.
Over his last two games, Boyd has hauled in 13 of 14 targets for 77 yards and a score.
Stock down: Irv Smith Jr.
There was a lot of optimism surrounding the signing of Smith away from the Minnesota Vikings, but he just has not lived up to the hype. Smith has missed two games so far this season with a hamstring injury and has not offered much in the other four games.
Smith’s biggest contribution so far this year came in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns when he caught three passes for 17 yards. Since then, he had two receptions against Baltimore, none at Arizona, and one against Seattle.
All told, Smith has caught six passes for 32 yards and no touchdowns on the season.
Stock up: Ja’Marr Chase
Chase continues to impress and led the Bengals again Sunday with 80 yards receiving on six catches, with a long of 31 yards. Although he did not score a touchdown, his presence alone opened up the passing lanes for Boyd.
Chase has caught 21 passes in the last two games and is on pace to finish the season with 142 grabs, seven shy of the NFL single-season record. His PFF score of 86.7 is currently 19.1 points higher than the next closest Bengals offensive player.
That player? Well, it just so happens to be...
Stock up: Jonah Williams
Yes, a 67.6 PFF grade isn’t elite by any stretch, but there’s no question Jonah Williams is having a much better season at right tackle than what we saw last year at left tackle.
Through his first six games of 2022, Williams had surrendered five sacks, three QB hits, and 19 total pressures.
Not cutting it.
This year? Williams has allowed just two sacks, two QB hits, and 12 total pressures through six games. Over his last four games, he’s allowed no sacks, no QB hits, and just seven total pressures.
Stock down: Tee Higgins
It’s been nothing short of a disaster for Higgins in a contract year. A rib fracture caused him to miss Week 5, and he caught just two passes for 20 yards vs. Seattle. In five games, he has 14 grabs for 149 yards and two scores, both coming in Week 2.
In his last three games, Higgins has hauled in a mere six catches for 60 yards and no scores. He’s never finished a season with a PFF grade lower than 75.9 but is currently at 57.3.
Stock up: Cam Taylor-Britt
Taylor-Britt had his second interception in two games, and while it did not go for a touchdown, his 24-yard return set Cincinnati up for the field goal that provided the final margin of victory.
The Nebraska product had three pass defenses on the day, and his seven solo tackles were second only to linebacker Logan Wilson.
Stock up: DJ Turner
The Bengals’ second-round rookie out of Michigan has been a pleasant surprise this season and is currently among the top 10 NFL cornerbacks in DVOA. He’s been targeted 15 times this season but has surrendered just five grabs for 43 yards and no scores while batting down one pass in 144 coverage snaps.
Stock down: Josh Tupou
Lou Anarumo’s defense, which had allowed an average of over 150 yards rushing per game coming in, finally put the clamps on a running game when it held Seattle to 87 yards rushing on 25 carries. It did allow a long of 21 yards to running back Kenneth Walker III, but it should never have happened. Tupou had Walker dead to rights in the backfield, but let him get away.
Speaking of, Tupou has more missed tackles (two) than stops (one) this year. His 29.1 PFF tackling grade is among the worst on the team and by far a career-low for him.
Stock up: Logan Wilson, Trey Hendrickson, and Sam Hubbard
Each recorded a sack in Week 6, and Hubbard was constantly in the face of Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. Hubbard had five quarterback hurries, Hendrickson had three tackles for loss, and Wilson led the team in tackles with 11 while adding two tackles for loss.
While Hendrickson leads the team with eight sacks, Hubbard actually leads the Bengals in QB hits with nine, while his 18 stops are just one behind Germaine Pratt for the team lead.
Wilson has 46 tackles on the season and is on pace for a career-high 130 if he plays in all 17 games.
Stock down: Joe Mixon
It’s been a brutal start for RB1, as Mixon has yet to account for 100 all-purpose yards in a single game this year, and he’s reached the end zone just once in Week 3. He’s been held under 70 rushing yards in all but one game and is coming off a season-low 38 rushing yards vs. Seattle.
Yes, the Bengals offense has been a mess, but at the end of the day, Mixon has been among the NFL’s worst running backs at making big plays this season.