Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown (14) drops back to pass during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated Baltimore Ravens 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Wow, what a game we saw in week three, as the Bengals traveled to Baltimore to take on the lowly Ravens. I will admit, as a 25 year Bengals fan, I was expecting the worst when the Ravens took the lead, but this is a different Bengals team. Now, sitting 3-0 with the Ravens at 0-3, the Steelers lost Big Ben, who is down for 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain, and the Browns being the Browns, it’s high time to be a Bengals Fan. Here are my snap judgment to the shoot out we saw in Baltimore.
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1. Talented Rosters Are Hard to Beat
Going into this season I think most can agree that this Bengals roster is the most talented and deepest roster they have had in the Marvin Lewis era, period. Sunday was a perfect example of the Bengals having the more talent and a deeper team in a game that shouldn’t have been so close. Going into halftime the Bengals were in full control and after a miserable 3rd quarter, they showed that Green, Dalton, and the offensive line were better than what the Ravens could match up with. The Ravens only hope was the 36 year old Steve Smith, who did everything he could to will them to a win, with the help of a potential game changing fumble recovery.
2. Marvin Jones Affect
Jones just missed having his first hundred yard game of the season with 94 yards on 5 catches and a touchdown. He did show why he was missed so much last year and how he not only produces, but also takes some of the attention away from A.J. Green. I also will go out on a limb and say that Jones might have the best hands on the team and his ability to win the 50/50 balls is underrated. Jones is on pace to catch 10+ touchdowns and if he continues to produce could be the next candidate for a contract extension.
3. Winning Despite Lewis
Ok, I’m trying to maintain an upbeat approach this week after an emotional win, but something has to be said about head coach Marvin Lewis. Everyone agrees that Lewis has been a very important part of turning the franchise around and making it a place that players want to come to and stay. However, he just seems to get out coached on a weekly basis during the games. His use of timeouts and in game decisions are going to bite this team, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
4. Poor Linebacker Play
I would have to guess that Emmanual Lamur has to be at the bottom after finishing last year as the worst rated 4-3 linebacker in the league. In fact, Pro Football Focus has him ranked as this weeks worst edge rusher in the league. He is really struggling to not only tackle, but also cover, something he is supposed to be on the field for. Hopefully the team evaluates the linebacker position this week and at least tries to give some snaps to rookie Paul Dawson Jr., who received zero snaps on defense this week. Vontaze Burfict can’t get back soon enough.
5. Andy Dalton the Leader
After Dalton was strip sacked, and the ball was returned for a touchdown, most of Bengaldom was in the same boat, ready for it to sink and hit bottom. However, I saw the camera’s on Andy, and right before he took the field after that play he took a deep breath, and you could see he was nervous but confident. We know what happened next, an absolute strike to A.J. Green with a rusher in his face. Then when Baltimore again scored, Dalton entered the huddle and took command, challenging everyone to step up, and they did with Dalton taking the biggest step of everyone. This might have been one of the best games of his career.