If you’ve read any of the narrative surrounding the Bengals 33-23 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, most of it focuses on how uninteresting/boring/expected/monotonous the victory was. As our resident British correspondent Ben Bergin pointed out, it was in many ways a lose-lose situation for the Bengals. So goes life against the Jaguars, I guess.
Short week with the Browns game Thursday night, so let’s get right to it.
“I think I’ll be fine.” —A.J. Green on his toe/life.
1. Jeremy Hill
The Bengals rookie running back grabs pole position in the hallowed Cincinnati Magazine Bengals Power Rankings for the first time in his young career, and a greater honor I can’t possibly imagine. The kid earned it (and he just turned 22 a couple weeks ago, so he really is a kid), racking up 154 much-needed yards on 24 carries (6.4 ypc) and two touchdowns with Gio Bernard sidelined due to injury. On a day when Andy Dalton really “didn’t have it,” a solid and successful running game was a saving grace. Nice to see Hill basking in it post-game as well. No doubt the Bengals are hoping this will turn around a running game that had been pretty abysmal thus far.
2. Andy Dalton
So here’s the weird thing about Dalton’s performance on Sunday and this season: it’s been far more consistent and steady than in the past, especially compared to last year. I think most Bengals fans would say that Dalton has had a solid year overall. We’ve all said it plenty of times, but he’s never going to be a Manning/Brady/Rodgers level QB. But as long as he can avoid being a 2013-Matt-Schaub level QB on the days when he doesn’t have his best stuff, the Bengals will often be able to absorb the blow. It’s great if Dalton can go out, put the team on his back, and win a couple games on his own each year. But more important is that he not lose a couple games on his own either. Last season, Dalton was the moodiest of moody QBs, alternating from impressive showings to performances that were an affront to the game of football. Here’s a look at his game-by-game grades from Pro Football Focus for 2013:
Things have improved this year. His highs haven’t been quite as high, but his lows haven’t been cavernous, either. There’s been more good than bad, and overall, he’s been above-average:
This is not to say that Dalton’s performance on Sunday was optimal or even acceptable. He was off on a handful of throws, made some poor decisions when scrambling, and had two poor turnovers, one of which was laughably bad. But he also had a pair of touchdowns, a completion percentage over 60%, and made a few big-time plays to keep his team ahead. If games like Sunday can be the standard for his worst performances, the Bengals will be…ok. Things have been worse.
4. Geno Atkins
Big Gene is slowly but surely getting back to his pre-knee-injury self. We’ve just passed the one-year anniversary of the injury last Halloween, and he’s starting to flash more and more each week. Cincy Jungle had a nice breakdown of Sunday’s showing.
5. Mohamed Sanu
Four catches, 95 yards, 1 TD.
Honorable Mention: Emmanuel Lamur’s Greg Little hands, Kevin Huber’s left leg, All-Pro punt gunner Dre Kirkpatrick, injuries, contested catches
Our weekly look at Andy Dalton vs The Blitz
On seven dropbacks against the blitz, Dalton went 3-7 (42.9%) for 56 yards (8.0 ypa), 1 TD, 2 INTs, a 71.1 QB rating, and a 0.2 PFF grade.
Greg Little Revenge GamLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.
Madden GIFerator of the Week
Beware of Thursday Night
As a Bengals fan, I have a terrible inkling about the game this Thursday. Feels like a classic “Andy Dalton royally sucks and the Bengals get embarrassed on national television” type game. But I’ve been wrong before.
At least it won’t be all bad…
Word is that Devon Still’s daughter, Leah, will be in the house on Thursday night. Let’s hope the Bengals can give her an effort she deserves.