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Cincinnati Bengals: Three Weeks with Three Difference Makers

matthewwillson
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The Bengals are 3-0 for the second season in a row and although some fans are probably thinking, here we go again, we have seen something from the Bengals we haven’t seen in years, the offense leading the charge. The most promising part of this Bengals team so far this season has been the play of the offense, even the weakest link in center Russell Bodine didn’t break until there week three trip to Baltimore.

Most teams would beg for that kind of success on offense and with the talent depth in their skill positions, this offense has little to worry about. Not only has Dalton stepped up and taken charge of being the leader by running the offense, but guys like Tyler Eifert, A.J. Green, and unexpected Giovani Bernard have answered the call each week, with a different player stepping up each time.

Tyler Eifert stepped up in week one against the Oakland Raiders. He had nine receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the game to lead the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns right off the start. The result was a convincing 33-13 win against the Raiders, and although his week two impact wasn’t as great as week one, his four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown helped to lift the Bengals to a 24-19 win over the San Diego Chargers.

Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Giovani Bernard has been the most unexpected lift in their first three weeks, both on the ground and in the passing game. He has yet to score a touchdown, but in week one, his eight carries for 63 yards combined with six catches for 25 yards, helped to keep a strong balance in the backfield. In week two, he wowed everyone as he rushed 20 times for 123 yards off the bench, all after Jeremy Hill was benched from two fumbles and a poor showing. Bernard, on the other hand, continued to shine. In week three, Bernard rushed for 49 yards on 13 carries and had three catches for 34 yards. He is currently the fifth leading rusher in the NFL and third in yards per attempt with 5.7.

Nobody had a larger target over their head or higher expectations hanging over them than A.J. Green. As the Bengals top wide receiver, his start in the first two games left something to be desired only gaining 108 yards on eight receptions. His first touchdown catch came in week two against the San Diego Chargers, but not after being over shadowed by Tyler Eifert’s week one and two receiving performances and Marvin Jones in week two.

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He made up for it though in his week three clinic we saw in Baltimore. He had ten receptions for 227 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the eighty yard bomb to take back the lead in the fourth quarter and the game winning touchdown less than two minutes after the Ravens had come back again to go up by a field goal. He gained the week three honors as AFC offensive player of the week and he proved why his extension is well worth the money from the Bengals organization.

All three players have lifted up and been lifted by the performance of Andy Dalton, and although this is more of an honorable mention at this point, Andy Dalton’s play has been nothing less than spectacular. His only real blemish has been an interception and fumble that can be blamed on protection in their week three game against the Ravens. This offense has been a big surprise but I think I can say safely that it is well welcomed surprise and one that we all were hoping for with a healthy arsenal of weapons to go to.

Next: Bengals: Power Rankings Roundup

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