Bengals beat Bills 34-21, move to 6-0


Oct 18, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard (21) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are now 6-0 after a decisive 34-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills. While the Bengals were slow to start, only managing a three-point lead after the first half, they rallied in the second half, scoring 17 points, while only allowing seven.

The Bills were certainly unlucky to have Tyrod Taylor unable to perform this week, and watching Sammy Watkins come off the field with an injury was just as brutal. But make no mistake, the Bengals were dominant in Buffalo; Cincinnati would’ve beaten most NFL teams with a performance like the one it put on today.

Andy Dalton once again proved why he is a top-10 quarterback; he’s really looking like a top-3 quarterback at this point of the season. Dalton completed 21 of his 32 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns. His deep ball was impressive, and he found open receivers consistently, whether under pressure or in the pocket. But don’t just credit Dalton; his offensive line has been tremendous thus far this season, only allowing six sacks all season long and zero sacks today. The Bengals’ O-line may be the NFL’s best.

The Bengals’ running game never really got going, because the Bills couldn’t stop the pass all game long. However, that’s not to say that Cincinnati didn’t have success running the ball. Jeremy Hill played well, taking 12 carries for 50 yards. He also added a sweet a 13-yard touchdown catch. Giovani Bernard took seven carries for 45 yards and a touchdown.

A.J. Green made a few nice plays, catching four passes for 36 yards. It wasn’t like he had a bad game, however; he just didn’t see many targets because the Bengals chose to expose other matchups. Tyler Eifert added three catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. But the MVP of Cincinnati’s receiving corps this week was Marvin Jones, who caught nine passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

The Bengals’ defense didn’t put up any splashy numbers, but it played a pretty good game overall. Darqueze Dennard made an impressive interception early on in the game, Dre Kirkpatrick had a couple of nice plays against the pass and the Bengals had a lot of success in stopping Buffalo on third down.

However, the defense has a lot to work on after this week. Cincinnati didn’t sack EJ Manuel a single time when it needed to, the entire defense missed multiple tackles on almost every drive and it couldn’t stop the run. Carlos Dunlap managed to bring down Manuel in garbage time, and he also added a nice pass deflection; however, there were scraps left on the plate for both he and Geno Atkins. The Bengals defense will be the key in this team’s ability to win meaningful games down the stretch; it cannot afford to give opposing quarterbacks time in the pocket to throw and it certainly can’t afford to miss so many tackles.

The good news for the Bengals, however, is that they’re 6-0 and legitimate Super Bowl contenders. And with a bye week to figure things out, the defense should regain some momentum. And as if the bye week isn’t enough, Vontaze Burfict will return to action very soon, which should astronomically boost the both defense’s tackling and overall morale. Burfict is a difference-maker, and even if he isn’t able to immediately make a drastic impact, his presence will be huge.

Up next for the Bengals will be a division rivalry matchup with the 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. With all of the divisional implications, it would not be surprising to see Ben Roethlisberger at the helm for Pittsburgh; the Steelers can’t afford a loss to Cincinnati.

Next: 5 Reasons why the Bengals will win Super Bowl 50