clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tuesday Trenches: On to Baltimore

Joe Burrow and the offense could do nothing in Cleveland. Will that change vs. Baltimore?

Syndication: USA TODAY Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Oh, Buzz. Your girlfriend...... WOOF!

That wasn’t easy to watch. You could tell it would be bad from the first snap of the game. Joe Burrow dropped back and didn’t have time to do anything other than throw an errant pass just to get rid of the ball. That’s how things went for the rest of the game. Burrow was pressured, the offense could not get anything going on a consistent basis, and while the defense played well overall, they eventually were worn down. That’s what happens when the offense has seven consecutive three-and-outs.

The end result, as you know, was a 24-3 shellacking that sent the Bengals back down the I-71 with their tails tucked between their legs.

That’s the bad.

Here’s the good.

They got out of Cleveland with their health. Yes, they got destroyed, but the only thing hurt was their ego. They played like a team whose starting quarterback got two weeks of work and no training camp. That’s what they are. They also played like it was raining cats and dogs. It was.

Here are a few things that did stand out to me (Seinfeld style):

  • “I was in the pool!” - Joe Burrow and the Bengals have played in the rain before, and there wasn’t an issue like this. It also looked like, at one point, Burrow may have injured his thumb. He was flexing it and then eventually put on a glove. To be fair to Burrow, the rain made Watson look like he was trying to practice short-hop scooping with a first baseman throughout the majority of the game.
  • “A George divided against itself cannot stand!” - Offenses and defenses work harmoniously together. The defense hopefully gets the ball back to the offense, either via a turnover or forcing a punt. In exchange, the offense gives the defense a break, and they hopefully score, taking a little pressure off the defense. If they can’t score, hopefully they can at least pin the opposing offense deep in their own territory. That didn’t happen on Sunday.

The offense had seven straight three-and-out drives, which just allowed the Browns to completely wear down the defense, and it showed.

  • “You’re done, Soup Nazi! NEXT!” - The Bengals were unsure of whom to turn to now that Samaje Perine, their third down and pass-blocking back, left in free agency to help Joe Burrow and the passing game. That new running back might be Trayveon Williams.

Williams had a PFF pass-blocking score of 78.1. Mixon had a score of 35.0, and Chris Evans had a score of 2.4.

  • “Giddy-up” - It’s over. The time to dwell on one of the worst Bengals losses in recent memory is over. To paraphrase Bill Belichick, “We’re on to Baltimore.”

Some things we could see this weekend:

  • The Baltimore Ravens beat a mismanaged and not overly functional Texans team in Week 1, but they lost too. In the end, these were the injuries sustained in the Ravens' Week 1 win:
  • Lamar Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, and every time he touches the ball, he is a threat to take it to the house. The Bengals have experience with dual-threat quarterbacks, and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo surely has a plan, but if the defense gets worn down by the offense not being able to sustain any drives, plans won’t matter.
  • The Ravens got to the quarterback five times on Sunday, and seven players had pass-rushing grades, per PFF, higher than 65.0. The Bengals' offensive line played better than the score showed against the Browns, and they’ll need to be even better on Sunday, especially if Joe Burrow is still not himself.
  • The Ravens passing attack flowed mostly through Zay Flowers, the rookie wide receiver out of Boston College. He finished their game with nine receptions for 78 yards. No other receiver had more than three catches.

Some other random thoughts on the Bengals' Week 1 loss to the Browns:

  • The offensive line wasn’t perfect on Sunday, but they didn’t start off terribly like they did last season in Week 1. Joe Burrow was only sacked twice, but only one was credited to an offensive lineman, Jonah Williams. That’s not to say Burrow wasn’t pressured, because he was. However, if he were his normal self, he could have moved much better than he did on Sunday.
  • The field condition in Cleveland looked terrible. I’m happy none of the Bengals players were seriously injured.
  • Seeing Dax Hill intercept his first pass in his first regular-season game as the Bengals starting free safety was awesome. I think the future of the position is bright.
  • The secondary, especially at the safety position, looked pretty good. Nick Scott was all over the field.
  • Rookie cornerback DJ Turner played a fair amount of snaps on defense. Chidobe Awuzie, in his first game back in action since his knee injury, only played in 43 snaps (58 percent). Turner played in 35 snaps (47 percent). When Turner was in, he didn’t look overwhelmed.
  • Tee Higgins and Burrow couldn’t connect on seven targets. That’s not going to be a thing we should be concerned about. Higgins and Burrow will get it together. Remember, they’ve barely practiced.
  • The only reason Chase and Burrow don’t have that issue is their days of playing together go back much farther.
  • Joe Mixon looked good. He had two runs of over 10 yards, and he didn’t do that very often last year. He also forced three missed tackles.
  • Some people are upset about this:

I’m not sure why. Garrett was feeling it, and then he showed why he’s one of the best pass rushers in the league.

  • I can once again say that I wish the Bengals starting offense would take some snaps during the preseason. That way, they wouldn’t start off the season slow, which puts their pursuit of the No. 1 seed in jeopardy. However...... If skipping the preseason helps increase the probability that the Bengals starting offensive players will be healthy down the home stretch of the season, I guess it’s worth it. We’ll see at the end of the season, I guess.
  • Don’t get too caught up on this loss. The Bengals offense hasn’t played together yet, and this was basically a preseason game for them. The defense, who did play together, were sharp until they were worn down. No team really shows who they are in Week 1.
  • Having said that, do you remember in September of 2014 when the New England Patriots were destroyed by the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 41-14, and Belichick just kept saying, “We’re on to Cincinnati?” I knew after I saw that press conference that the Bengals were in trouble the next week. The Patriots beat the tar out of the Bengals, 43-17.

That’s how I’m hoping the Bengals respond on Sunday. I hope there are Ravens fans who see the Bengals as a sleeping giant that was just awoken. Hopefully, that’s what happens.

By the way, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year.

What kind of team are the Bengals?

We’re about to find out.

Who Dey!