Cincy looked like we thought they would against overmatched division rival Cleveland on Sunday in a 31-7 win. We’re not sure if this means the Bengals are rebounding or the Browns are that bad (probably both). What’s sure is this – the Bengals played a complete game.
How Things Went
Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton was so on that his fumble and three sacks were barely noticed. He completed 83% of his passes (no, that’s not a typo) and threw 4 touchdowns to three different receivers. Backup tight end Tyler Kroft caught two of those scoring passes. That’s a reason for smiling and frowning. We’re smiling because another receiving weapon has emerged. Opponents are frowning because it’s one more guy they’ll need to keep an eye on.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was a welcome sight back in the defensive lineup after serving a three-game suspension. He only recorded six tackles, but with the offense playing like it did, Burfict didn’t exactly need to shut down the Browns’ O like a bar with an expired liquor license. The Cincinnati Bengals almost pitched a shutout though until Cleveland running back Duke Johnson ran it in with 1:54 left in the game. Other than that, the D showed out, yo. They held Cleveland to 215 yards of total offense, picked off a pass, and logged two sacks. The Browns are now ranked 24th in the NFL with only 87 rushing yards per game.
Cincinnati Bengals Player of the Game
Dalton. No question. Mr. Fire Hair was on fire, going 25 for 30 for 286 yards and four touchdowns. He and Joe Mixon even led the team in rushing (again, no typo) with 29 yards each. Dalton finished with a 146 QB rating. Think that’s impressive? Check out AD’s all-time stats against Cleveland in 13 games: 2,780 yards, 24 touchdowns, and a record of 10-3. He’s got the deed to the team in his locker.
What This Means Going Forward
Cincinnati now has a win under its belt, and a dominating one at that. Victories where you thrash your rival arguably give you a bigger confidence boost than grind-it-out wins against tough opponents. And let’s not forget new offensive playcaller Bill Lazor. He took over after Marvin Lewis fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after the first two games of the season. Based on the past two performances, the Bengals’ offense may be taking over some upcoming football games.