Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals Through Two Games: Close But No Cigar

  • A.J. Green
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Geno Atkins
  • Joe Burrow
  • Joe Mixon
  • Zac Taylor
By Sam Connaughton September 22, 2020 0 Comment
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The Cincinnati Bengals start off the 2020 NFL regular season at 0-2 with more questions than answers at this point in the young season.

It’s safe to say that Cincinnati Bengals have played competitive football in the first two games of the 2020 season. They have lost both games by a combined eight points. Still, fans have already begun to think that this year looks eerily similar to the season they just endured. The Bengals went 2-14 in 2019. They were also 0-8 in one score games in 2019. With how the first two games have gone, there are question marks up and done the Bengals roster and staff. However, the two answers have become crystal clear for fans and experts alike.

Is Zac Taylor the guy?

That is one of the questions asked in the season preview: Is Zac Taylor the right coach for the Cincinnati Bengals? So far he hasn’t done himself any favors to prove himself this season. He was criticized in Week one for his time management and use of timeouts. In Week two, he was criticized for his play calling, especially down near the goal line. Yet, the glaring stat for Zac Taylor’s tenure is he is 0-10 in one score games. Yes, some of that is on the the players on the field. Yet, you can’t be 0-10 in one score games and have coached just 18 games.

At some point, the rubber needs to hit the road and the Bengals have to win those games to get to where they want to go. The Zac Taylor hot seat is officially on. It’s not hot but it’s warm and only getting warmer with results like these.

Will A.J. Green return to Pro Bowl form?

The Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver has remained healthy through the first two weeks of the NFL season. That is good. However the production for the star receiver hasn’t been there. He has just eight catches for 80 yards through two games. The more concerning thing is he hasn’t been making those “A.J. Green plays” that Bengals fans have been accustomed to seeing over the years.

Now some see Green’s lack of production as rust. The wide receiver did miss all of the 2019 due to injury. Without a preseason, it is easy to imagine that Green would come out a little slow out of the gate. His situation is something to monitor as the season goes on.

Is the defense really as bad as the showed on Thursday night?

The Bengals defense looked disgustingly bad on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati Bengals media, including myself, sang their praises after Week 1 but those praises changed to confusion after their Thursday Night Football performance. The defense gave up 434 total yards and 215 rushing yards to the Browns. In order for the Bengals to win games, they can’t fall behind big and hope for Joe Burrow to throw them out of the hole. The Bengals defense had no answer for Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They also struggled getting any pressure at all on Baker Mayfield. That is a recipe for disaster for this team. If this team wants to be competitive, they have to defend against the run better and get to the opposing quarterback.

The Bengals do have a little hope left. The team thinks that defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels could be ready to go for their Week  three matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The team also hopes to get safety Shawn Williams back and that could also help a secondary that struggled with tackling against the Browns. This group will need to improve vastly in order for the Bengals to rack up more wins then last year.

The offensive line is as bad as we thought it was

Whether you watched the first game against the Los Angeles Chargers or the second game against the Browns, it’s been ugly.

Joe Burrow has been sacked six times through two games and has been hit fourteen times. Burrow has had little to no time to throw the ball. He is under constant duress and fans of both the Bengals and football are fearing for his health.

They’ve also been very ineffective creating running lanes for Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard. The team has rushed for 190 total rushing yards in their first two games. That means that the Browns in one game rushed for more yards than the Bengals did in two weeks. That’s not good. Running the football will protect Joe Burrow and make this offense dangerous and multidimensional. The Bengals offensive line is at the root of the Bengals offensive dysfunction and lack of explosiveness. It is hard to make big plays when you don’t have time to throw. This offensive line needs to step up or something needs to change.

Joe Burrow is the guy

The kid is the real deal. Flat out. Plain and simple. Through two games, Burrow has 509 yards, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and only one interception.

Stats aside, Burrow has everything you want in a franchise quarterback. Burrow has the toughness and is a naturally born leader. He doesn’t settle for anything less than the gold standard. The young quarterback faces pressure with the poise and bravado of a ten year veteran. Burrow has the tangibles and intangibles that teams desperately covet.

If the Bengals need something to fall back on, it’s that the kid they took number one overall in last April’s draft has lived up to sky high expectations and has every intent on exceeding them.

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