The Bengals had plenty of missed opportunities on Sunday, as they were forced to settle for a 23-23 tie with the Eagles. Here are the winners and losers for Cincinnati following the tie.
The Bengals second-round pick went in the game with a huge opportunity. John Ross was inactive, and Higgins moved into a starting role. The 21 year old didn’t let his opportunity go to waste. He scored his first career touchdown giving the Bengals the lead in the late second quarter. Higgins struck again later in the game for a second touchdown. The Clemson product ended the day with five receptions for 40 yards and two scores. The rookie proved himself and is sure to get more opportunities going forward.
Another week on the winners list for the rookie quarterback. It’s only Week 3, but Joe Burrow is proving he was the right choice for the first overall pick. With 312 yards and two touchdowns, Burrow put the Bengals in position to win. The young quarterback was also under constant pressure the entire game, getting sacked eight times by the Philadelphia defense. He didn't allow the pressure to get to him. He is not your ordinary rookie quarterback.
The Bengals defensive end had arguably the best game of his career Sunday, sacking Carson Wentz twice and racking up eight total tackles. Lawson needed this game. He has been mostly a non-factor leading up to this point in the young season, but with a game like this he proves he can still be a valuable asset to the team. This is a contract year for the young pass rusher, and he’ll need more games like this to convince the Bengals he can be a big part of this defense moving forward
With the current state of the Bengals offensive line, Johnson was given a chance to start at right guard last week and Sunday. Against the Eagles, Johnson looked lost out there at times. The former Steeler gave up multiple pressures and was also a liability in the run blocking game. This was a big game for his career, and he just couldn’t get it done. Johnson was benched for Billy Price at halftime. Price didn't fare much better, as the Bengals still need to find a solution at right guard until Xavier Su'a-Filo returns.
Phillips has had an increased role this season with new free agent signing Trae Waynes missing significant time. The 25 year old struggled in coverage Sunday, especially on plays where he covered tight end Zach Ertz. The biggest mistake was on a zone coverage play in overtime, where Phillips was too concerned about an underneath route and led Ertz to run right past him leading to a deep throw by Wentz that put the Eagles in field goal range. If Phillips wants to continue getting more playing time, he’ll need to rebound from Sunday's performance.
You might think this is a weird addition to the losers list because Ross didn’t even play Sunday, but that’s exactly why he’s on this list. Shortly before the Bengals game Sunday, Ross was listed as a healthy scratch, moving Auden Tate back to active and Higgins into the starting lineup. Higgins had a great game and Tate had some solid catches. Where does this leave Ross? The Bengals didn’t pick up his 5th year option, making him a free agent this upcoming offseason. This healthy scratch puts Ross deep in a hole that he’ll need to fight out of if he wants his shot at a new contract from Cincinnati this offseason.
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