Bengals’ Winners and Losers vs. Titans

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Sep 21, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) celebrates during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Tennessee 33-7. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Winner: “Next Man Up”

If you didn’t before, you should appreciate what depth means to a football team at this point.  The Bengals dealt with some major blows last year when losing both Leon Hall and Geno Atkins during the first half of the season.  This team dealt with losses fine then and is now.

We’re only three weeks into the season, but the Bengals’ injury report is already in mid-season form.  Thus far, this team is missing three starters on offense in Marvin Jones, Kevin Zeitler, and Tyler Eifert–if you consider him the starter as some do.  The defense has largely been missing its star and leader Vontaze Burfict for much of the season as he’s been relentlessly in and out of games.  These absences are accompanied by missing defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, who plays a key part in stopping the run, reserve running back Rex Burkhead, and blocking ace, tight end Alex Smith, who was put on the I.R. last week.

The Bengals have done a great job of “weathering the storm” so far as other players have stepped up and kept this team moving forward.  Mohamed Sanu has provided several sparks for this team while making huge catches in lieu of Marvin Jones.  The offense hasn’t missed a beat since losing Tyler Eifert, who became a favorite weapon of Andy Dalton this off-season, and the defense looked great yesterday nearly shutting out the Titans without Vontaze Burfict.  All this without even taking into account that Geno Atkins is still getting into game shape after missing all of the preseason as he recovers from off-season ACL surgery.

This team has looked fantastic through three weeks this year.  The early season bye week couldn’t have come in a better year seemingly.  Opposing teams and fans have to be shuddering at the thought of how good this team can be if they get fully healthy.