Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Andy Dalton put together a nice performance, completing 25 of 34 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Dalton wasn’t given great field position throughout the game, but he responded by stringing together several great drives from 59 yards, 88 yards, 56 yards, 48 yards and 85 yards. He also did a good job protecting the ball, making safe passes to avoid being intercepted and not taking a single sack.
The Bengals excelled on the ground, with both running backs individually outrushing the entire Raiders team. Jeremy Hill took 19 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns, while Giovani Bernard rushed for 63 yards on just eight carries. If I were to pick out a disappointment, I’d point out that Hill only rushed for 63 yards; however, against an underrated Raiders run defense, I’ll let it slide.
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While Dalton and the running backs excelled, the receivers had to take a back seat.
, A.J. Green dropped a couple of easy passes, including an easy one in the end zone on a drive that the Bengals ended up settling for a field goal; however, he still hauled in five passes for 63 yards and drew a couple of defensive penalties.
While it’s exciting to see that Dalton was able to utilize the wide receiving arsenal, it would be nice to see higher yardage totals for Green, Jones and Sanu.
Tyler Eifert went off. He led both teams with nine catches, 104 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Enough said. To properly demonstrate my excitement after Eifert’s performance, here are a few live tweets from Sunday’s game.
When I asked Stripe Hype followers for the player they were most excited about heading into the season, I received seven responses from followers mentioning Eifert’s name. He was huge today and could be a huge X-factor for Cincinnati in 2015.
Bar injury, it’s safe to say that we’re good at tight end for this season. After the afternoon games, Eifert leads NFL tight ends in catches, is tied with Travis Kelce for second place in touchdown catches, behind only Rob Gronkowski, and is second in yards to Kelce, who only has two more receiving yards than Eifert.
The offensive line did a good job on Sunday, especially in the passing game. While the Bengals only rushed for 127 total yards, they gained 269 yards through the air and didn’t allow a single sack all game long. The offensive line played so well that Khalil Mack only recorded four tackles while newly signed Aldon Smith only managed two. The only negative: Justin Tuck made a significant impact on defense, batting a couple of passes and blocking an extra point.