Because of the team’s performance, there were so many worthy candidates for our weekly awards, thus making it tough to narrow things down. Cast your vote and sound off on your winners for the Bengals’ Week 1 awards in their 27-24 win over the Vikings!
Most Valuable Player
No. 9 didn’t have the gaudy stats of some games last year, he was efficient and clutch in the win. Burrow also seemed to have improved on his deep ball, if we are to take the 50-yard bomb to Ja’Marr Chase as evidence. Burrow finished 20-of-27 (74% completion rate) for 261 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
What a bounce-back game for the rookie. That’s such an odd statement, given that it was his first regular-season game of his career, but so goes it. Chase led the team with 101 receiving yards on five catches, which included the 50-yard strike from Burrow.
The Bengals want more balance on offense this year and their feeding the ball to Mixon 34 total times (29 carries and four receptions) proves it. He is a nominee for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week because of his 150 total yards (127 rushing, 23 receiving) and touchdown run.
The team’s newest acquisition had an immense game on his 24 defensive snaps. He racked up three total tackles and two sacks in the debut.
The Vikings made plays on offense, which was to be expected because of their weaponry, but Pratt had a very active afternoon. He recorded eight tackles, with one for loss, and had the big forced fumble and recovery in overtime.
The rook has literally been perfect on his kicks in his pro games. Aside from hitting all three of his extra points, he had two HUGE field goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ MVP in Week 1?
QB Joe Burrow
WR Ja’Marr Chase
RB Joe Mixon
DL B.J. Hill
LB Germaine Pratt
K Evan McPherson
Unsung Hero of the Week
Chase got all of the attention and for good reason, but Higgins had a solid afternoon, too. He had the two-yard touchdown reception after he forced a big pass interference penalty, and finished with four catches for 58 yards, despite leaving the game with cramps.
Both Williams and Riley Reiff disallowed the Vikings’ defense to get any hits, pressures or sacks on Burrow on Sunday. Williams is a major key to the Bengals’ offensive success this year and proved it with a respectable 73.1 overall PFF score, which included a 84.8 pass blocking grade.
The veteran tight end was a non-factor until the most important part of the game. He notched two catches for 35 yards, including the MASSIVE 32-yard reception to set up the game-winning field goal. Uzomah also had a 75.4 pass blocking grade.
Despite the interior of the offensive line being a bit of a sieve this week, Spain played at a high level. He was the NFL’s fourth-highest graded guard by Pro Football Focus’ metrics with a 79.7 overall score.
The Bengals’ newest cornerback addition had a solid day in coverage. Awuzie had two passes defended and was part of a secondary group that played pretty well on Sunday.
Personally speaking, this was one of my favorite players to watch on Sunday. It felt like he was making a huge impact on every snap he was in the game. Ogunjobi had six total tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
Kickers and punters are people, too! Huber had seven punts, with three landing inside Minnesota’s 20-yard line. He had a 47.4-yard per punt net average, including a 61-yard boot.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 1 Unsung Hero of the Week?
WR Tee Higgins
OT Jonah Williams
TE C.J. Uzomah
OG Quinton Spain
CB Chidobe Awuzie
DL Larry Ogunjobi
P Kevin Huber
Play of the Game
Tee Higgins’ two-yard touchdown reception:
As mentioned above, after forcing a 26-yard pass interference penalty on Beshaud Breeland, Higgins made a nice catch in the back of the end zone to create a 7-7 tie in the second quarter.
Ja’Marr Chase’s 50-yard touchdown reception:
A major reason for the Bengals’ drafting Chase was for the offense to be able to implement a more efficient deep ball game. “Uno” blew past the defender and Burrow hit him in stride for a 50-yard strike to give the Bengals a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
Germaine Pratt’s forced fumble in overtime:
It’s a big year for the third-year backer out of NC State and he had a tide-turning play on defense. As the Bengals were clinging to life, they tried to pry the ball out of Dalvin Cook’s hands and Pratt was successful. He also recovered the ball, to boot.
Ruled a fumble on the field but Dalvin Cook may be down pic.twitter.com/aztBJHhF2b— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) September 12, 2021
(Narrator): He wasn’t.
C.J. Uzomah’s 32-yard reception from Joe Burrow on fourth down in OT:
Zac Taylor made the call for the Bengals to go for it on fourth-and-inches for the third time in the contest, but it was reportedly Burrow who audibled to this play. One of the team’s most likeable guys in Uzomah stepped up with a big play to give the 2021 season a new outlook.
The Joe Burrow pass to CJ Uzomah is just so unreal.— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) September 13, 2021
This is what you get when you have a cerebral QB like Burrow; these guys make magic happen and find ways to win when the lights shine their brightest.pic.twitter.com/3oYbzHHl40
Evan McPherson’s 33-yard game-winning field goal as overtime ends:
Ice in the rookie’s veins. After hitting a huge 53-yard field goal (another possible POW nominee), McPherson was called upon to win it. He answered the bell as time expired in overtime.
Which play was the best in the Bengals’ Week 1 win over the Vikings?
Tee Higgins’ two-yard touchdown reception
Ja’Marr Chase’s 50-yard touchdown reception
Germaine Pratt’s forced fumble in overtime
C.J. Uzomah’s 32-yard OT reception
Evan McPherson’s 33-yard game-winning kick