The Bengals tied the Eagles in a frustrating fashion on Sunday, 23-23. Here are five things learned from week 3.
1. Joe Burrow is Going to get Hurt if This Keeps up
Football fans everywhere have been able to see flashes of Joe Burrow’s talent through the first three weeks of the season. Unfortunately, what has made things difficult for the team is the offensive line play. Not only has it been bad, but Burrow is starting to take some real shots.
— ZIM (@zimwhodey) September 27, 2020
Against the Eagles, Malik Jackson layed a big hit on Burrow. It was in the second quarter on a play-action pass and Burrow was down for a few seconds. He missed one play then went back into the game. Burrow actually played better from that point on, but it’s still not a shot anyone wants a quarterback taking. There will be more to follow if the line doesn’t get fixed.
2. The Pass Rush Finally Showed up
The Eagles have had injuries on their offensive line and the Bengals were finally able to take advantage. They got to Carson Wentz three times. Carl Lawson had two sacks, while Sam Hubbard had one. The team had five quarterback hits in total. Lawson specifically did a good job rushing against future Hall of Famer Jason Peters.
With Lawson, Hubbard, Carlos Dunlap, D.J. Reader, Mike Daniels and Geno Atkins (when healthy), the defensive line should be better. They had just two sacks heading into this game. The Bengals need to find a way to consistently get this type of pressure on quarterbacks if they are to win games.
3. Tyler Boyd is the Best Receiver on the Team
There was hope that A.J. Green could return to the Bengals and be a major factor. Through three games he looks like he is well past his prime. Through three games, Green has 13 receptions for 113 yards and no touchdowns. If he doesn’t step it up soon, he likely won’t be able to set the price tag he wants in free agency this offseason.
On the other hand, Tyler Boyd is proving why he may be Burrow’s top target for now and the future. Boyd has 21 receptions for 230 yards and one touchdown. Against the Eagles, Boyd had 10 receptions for 125 yards. Burrow will need to start making Boyd his go-to-guy for the Bengals to be competitive.
4. Tee Higgins is Emerging
After not doing anything in week 1, Tee Higgins is emerging over the last several weeks. He had three receptions for 35 yards in week 2 and then improved to have five receptions for 40 yards and two touchdowns this week. In all, he got much better.
The Burrow-Higgins connection is something that the Bengals will want to see grow. Even on a play where Burrow scrambled and incredibly made rushers miss with a spin move, he found Higgins downfield for a completion. It was called back for illegal touching, but it’s hard not to get excited about Higgins.
5. The Grace Period is Over for Zac Taylor
With every new coach, especially one with no head coaching experience, there needs to be a grace period where coaches can work and implement their systems. If the coach and team don’t do anything egregiously bad, they should get the benefit of the doubt for at least the first year.
Taylor has won two games in his coaching career. Tying the game against the Eagles was not a moral victory. The Bengals had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but came up short. He deserves some credit for helping the team come back in the second half. Taylor has an atrocious record in one-score games. He has had chances to fix the offensive line. The Bengals have talented players on the defensive line and have just recently gotten production out of their pass rush. He shouldn’t be fired tomorrow, but the grace period is over.
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