After Cincinnati’s first team performance in Week 3 against Washington, the Bengals showed how good they could actually be on the offensive side of the ball. Outside of Joe Mixon’s fumble and the offensive sputter afterward, the Bengals may have shown a small sample of what could be.
A little over a month ago, ESPN writer, Bill Barnwell, wrote that the Cincinnati Bengals have the sixth best offensive arsenal. The Bengals sat behind the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. Barnwell certainly gave the Bengals credit and said that the offense could be unstoppable But, they actually have potential to be better than expected.
During the Week 3 matchup with Washington, the Bengals showed a small glimpse of just how good the offense could actually be. The Bengals’ first drive went for 87 yards on 15 plays and finally ended with a Jeremy Hill goal line touchdown.
Andy Dalton went 5 for 7 for 55 yards and A.J. Green had four catches and 43 yards. Green made some crucial catches that converted third downs. But, then again, doesn’t he always? Green looked like he was in midseason form and consistently beat Josh Norman.
Norman is no backup corner, he is one of the most talented corners in the game and Green consistently had his number.
Although the most interesting part of the first drive was not Dalton and Green. Who Dey knows they’ll show up game-in and game-out. Well…at least Green. The most interesting part of the drive was that six different players gained yards for the offense.
What Does This Mean?
Weapons upon weapons. Let’s not forget that Tyler Eifert wasn’t even on the field against Washington. The Bengals have a lot of different players who can help the offense move down the field. Once Eifert is in the game, there’s Tyler, Green, Hill, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Brandon LaFell all at the disposal of Ken Zampese
However, the difference makers are Ross and Mixon. As we’ve seen so far, Mixon has that Le’Veon Bell style. He does everything pretty well, but Ross allows the offense to open up even more than it has before.
Ross’ speed makes the defense stay true. During the Washington game, Cincinnati kept running jet sweeps. The purpose was to create bigger running lanes by forcing the ends to stay outside and not crash down on the running back. If the ends do crash down, give it to Ross on the sweep.
Ross also opens up the passing game by adding a deep threat, meaning single coverage on Green and more passes for Boyd.
Joe Mixon, on the other hand, can just ball. Give him the rock and let him go to work. He’s put together a pretty good preseason and has fans excited about what he can do this year. The more I see Mixon get the ball, the more excited I am. It’s the type of feeling you get when Hill is around the goal line and Bernard is in space.
So…How Can They Be Better Than Expected?
Well, for one, the Cowboys are without Ezekiel Elliot for six games. The Patriots have lost Julian Edelman and the Dolphins have Jay Cutler at quarterback. Enough said. Also, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Steelers. Bell isn’t back yet, Martavis Bryant is still shaking off the rust and Big Ben is halfway out due to him heavily considering retirement.
So, just by that, there’s room for improvement for the Cincinnati Bengals. Couple that with all of Cincinnati’s weapons and it could be a big year for the Orange & Black. They could possibly land in the top three offenses in the league.