The Bengals notched their first win of the season over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are five things learned from week 4.
1. The Offensive Line Played Much Better
The offensive line has been horrendous this season. But credit needs to be given where credit is due. The offensive line played well, specifically in the second half. Joe Burrow was sacked just one time in the game. He was hit just five times in the game as well. The offensive line also played well in the running game, as Joe Mixon averaged 6.0 yards per rush.
This doesn’t mean that the offensive line issues will magically be fixed for the future. Bobby Hart was leading the league with 15 pressures allowed heading into the game. They did a good job against two solid, young pass rushers (Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson), but they have a long way to go. Now they have to put a few good performances together.
2. Joe Burrow is a Star
Most Bengals fans were right to be excited when Joe Burrow was drafted. He had a great season at LSU that saw him set records, win the Heisman and leave with a National Championship. It is always hard to tell when a player is truly special at the NFL level, but Burrow has proven that he is a star.
Burrow became the first rookie to throw for over 300 yards in three consecutive starts on Sunday. He went 25/36 for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The one interception wasn’t his fault, as he put the ball right on the money to Drew Sample, but Myles Jack was able to tear it away from him. If he can play like this with decent offensive line play, the Bengals need to ensure that he gets great offensive line play every week.
3. Joe Mixon Finally got Back on Track
The last two seasons, Joe Mixon has started off very sluggishly. It took him about eight games to start playing well last season. This season, he had a big game in week 4 against the Jaguars. He had 25 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Mixon added six catches for 30 yards and a touchdown through the air.
While the offensive line played much better, Mixon has never really had a good line to run behind. He has admitted that he needs to play better and he stepped up. If he can continue his good play like he did in the latter part of last season, the Bengals can pick up a few more wins this season.
4. A.J. Green isn’t Getting Paid
Last week, it was noted that Tyler Boyd was the best receiver on the team. Boyd has been Burrow’s best target, while A.J. Green is fading. He only registered one catch for three yards this week. Green has struggled to separate this season and him and Burrow haven’t connected on a lot of his targets this year.
Through four games, Green has 14 catches for 119 yards and no touchdowns. His best performance was his 51-yard game against the Chargers in week 1. Green has mentioned wanting to be paid, as he is a free agent this season. With the injury history (he has also had to leave the field twice this year for minor tweaks) and his lack of production, Green isn’t going to get the contract he wants. It is hard to see it this way, but Green may not be a Bengal next season.
5. Big Name Players Need to Step up on D
The defense played a solid game in some areas. They stopped the run well, as they allowed only 89 yards on the ground. Gardner Minshew was able to throw for 351 yards, but that was because the Jags were trying to mount a comeback. There still need to be a lot of improvements before this defense reaches its potential.
None of their big name players, other than Jessie Bates, has stepped up this season. Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard were unable to register a sack. Josh Bynes was only able to register four tackles. William Jackson also had a pretty quiet game. If this defense wants to get consistently better, they need their big name players to step up. Especially when Geno Atkins gets back on the field.
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