CINCINNATI — The Bengals dominated the Lions in Detroit on Sunday, cruising to a 34-11 win. Here are five thoughts on their second road victory of the season.
Ja'Marr Has the Juice
Ja'Marr Chase has been the Bengals' best offensive player through six weeks. He had four receptions for 97 yards on Sunday, including two big receptions that led to 10 points.
His 53-yarder in the second half was his second-longest catch of the season. His 34-yarder at the end of the second quarter helped spark the offense and they scored on five straight possessions after that catch.
Chase also had the block of the year on Joe Mixon's 40-yard touchdown reception. He completely pummeled Lions safety Will Harris in the open field.
"I told him after that that not a lot of top 5 picked receivers do that. That's the kind of guy he is," Joe Burrow said after the game. "He's just gonna keep making plays like that. I mean that's an unbelievable play. He got Joe in the end zone. Not a lot of guys want to make that play, and he does."
This Defense is Legit
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has done a tremendous job this season. He was confident and excited before the game. From chatting with coaches he knew, to doing push ups and even signing autographs for fans—the Bengals' defensive coordinator's confidence is at an all time high.
It's worth noting that Anarumo wasn't being cocky. What coach wouldn't be excited to have the guys he has on defense? He was clearly excited to get after it and they nearly pitched a shutout in Detroit.
The Bengals' defense has been consistent all season and they're playing with some swag. They have guys that work extremely hard and all of the pieces fit. From Chidobe Awuzie to Logan Wilson and D.J. Reader, this defense deserves credit for how good they've been this season.
One week after missing two potential game-winning field goals, rookie kicker Evan McPherson made all six of his kicks, including 38 and 40-yard field goals.
The game was in a dome, which makes life much easier on kickers, but it was good to see him bounce back.
Bengals Best Punt Returner on Practice Squad?
Bengals starting punt returner Darius Phillips was benched in favor of Trenton Irwin after he had room on a return, but didn't pick up any yardage early in the game.
Irwin showed his potential, getting upfield quickly instead of going horizontal like Phillips has done so often this season, but he also fair caught a punt on the 5-yard line.
I can't help but think about practice squad wide receiver Trent Taylor. He might be the best punt returner on the roster, but hasn't appeared in a game this season.
Chris Evans is Special
The rookie continues to impress. He's an elite athlete and pass catcher, which is something that quickly jumped out in rookie OTAs.
Evans caught a touchdown, but his best play came in pass protection where he delivered a key block on Burrow's 53-yard pass to Chase.
"You see what he can do in the pass game. He got one on one and really, really ran a great route and scored a touchdown for us," Burrow said. "And then on the big throw to Ja'Marr in the second half, he picked up a safety pressure off the edge that was really unbelievable. He's getting better and better each week and he's just going to keep getting more reps when he plays like that."
If Evans can hold his own in pass protection, then there's no reason why he can't overtake Samaje Perine as the Bengals' backup running back behind Mixon.
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