The Bengals traveled to Heinz Field and came away with a dominating victory on Sunday.
Cincinnati was a 3-point underdog going into the game, but they ended up winning the contest 24-10. They were able to win this game through an efficient passing attack and a defense ready to force turnovers and sack the quarterback.
The Passing Attack
Weirdly enough for a game in which Joe Burrow finished with a great stat line for passing the ball, he started slow. He missed his first pass on a wide open Tyler Boyd corner route. Then on the next drive, he threw an interception after missing the placement on a pass.
After that, he settled in and was able to lead the Bengals’ offense down the field. The next drive was a touchdown capped off by a throw to Boyd on a juke route. Boyd showed his strength and balance as he powered into the end zone for a touchdown.
Then right before the half, Burrow launched a go ball to Ja’Marr Chase as part of the 989/doubles concept for another touchdown. Those two plays were two of the passing concepts I listed in my article last week as plays the Bengals should utilize going forward.
Burrow ended the day with lower yardage totals, but only four incompletions and three touchdowns. This is the third time Burrow has thrown 3 touchdowns in a game. The other two being both of the games against the Browns last year. Despite this game being the lowest total number of completions in a game for Burrow so far in his career, it is also the second-highest passer rating he has had in a game. All in all, it was a good day at the office for the Bengals’ second-year quarterback.
Prior to the season, the defense made it clear that they were going to force more turnovers in 2021. So far they've delivered.
The defense has forced at least one turnover in every game this season. Against Pittsburgh, they had two takeaways and it could have been three. Vonn Bell did a great job stripping the ball out of a Steelers players' hands after a catch, but Bell and the Bengals were unable to recover the fumble. Still like I mentioned there were two turnovers forced in this game. Both of those turnovers came from Logan Wilson’s interceptions.
This marks the second straight week that Wilson has recorded an interception. With those two interceptions, Wilson is not only the team leader in the category but also leads the entire National Football League in interceptions. The second-year linebacker is looking to break out in a big way by forcing turnovers and being a leader of the young defense.
“He’s playing at an elite level. He’s a guy that you love to have on your team and you would hate to play against," Burrow said of Wilson. "When he’s in zone coverage he reads the quarterbacks eyes better than anybody. And not only does he do that, but he makes plays on the ball.”
On offense, the Bengals didn't give up a sack. This comes despite starting a rookie at right guard in Jackson Carman. It's also worth noting that right tackle Riley Reiff got hurt and missed a few plays.
Without looking at the coaches’ film and really studying Carman, it feels like he played pretty well. That’s a huge win for the Bengals as they need some more talent along this offensive line. On the flip side, the Bengals sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times in this game. The four sacks were the most given up by the Steelers so far in this season. Each sack came from a different player. Both of the Bengals edge defenders in Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson were able to sack the Steelers quarterback.
B.J. Hill continued his strong start to the season with a sack. Rounding out the group is rookie Cam Sample. He got his first sack of the season. The Bengals’ defense now has 10 sacks this season through three games. They are on pace to shatter last year’s total of 17 sacks for an entire season. They are currently on pace for about 57 sacks this year. It’s early and I do not think they will hit that mark, but anywhere near 50 sacks would be an excellent total for this defense.
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