The Bengals played a ‘gut check’ game under the stars. Primetime was good to the home team. But, there are still things that need to be fixed.
Things evened out for the Bengals. The Miami Dolphins rolled into town and promptly left with a loss. Under the bright lights of primetime, Cincinnati was able to showcase their ability to win. Beating the Dolphins 22-7 was a much-needed gut check. But there were still a few nagging loose ends.
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Bengals faithful were treated to football like it was supposed to be played. There were some mistakes that could have caused another meltdown. But, the Bengals kept their composure and made it look easy.
How did they do it? Marvin’s Men aren’t supposed to perform well after the sun goes down. But, in the spotlight of Thursday Night Football, they flipped the script and did it. What did we learn?
Paulie G’s Men came out with fire and passion. Did the return of Vontaze Burfict mean that much? Without hesitation, that’s a definite yes. The Bengals played with a desire that hasn’t been seen since the (dare I say it) Wild Card game. You know the one. That game against the Steelers last January. That was the last time Burfict was on the field,
What did the defense do? Not a whole lot. They just sacked Ryan Tannehill five times, snatched an interception, and allowed only seven points. After a first quarter 74-yard bomb from Tannehill to Kenny Stills, the dam was fixed.
Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins terrorized Miami all night. If they weren’t making Dolphin Souffle out of the QB, they were being disruptive in the backfield. Margus Hunt and Will Clarke have settled comfortably into the defensive scheme. They all fueled a Bengals defense that allowed 222 total yards. Yikes.
Andy Dalton is….well, Dalton. He’s once again playing at a level that could see him setting records. He ended the night with a crisp 22-of-31 performance. He torched the Phins secondary for 296 yards.
Is it safe to say A.J. Green is a beast? He carried the Bengals with 173 yards receiving.
The running game is still under construction. Jeremy Hill has shown he can get the job done. Now, it’s up to Ken Zampese to get the right calls and schemes in place. Just like Zampese is learning, the offensive line is on a curve too. But, in order to return to the top spot in the AFC North…you have to run the ball.