The Cincinnati Bengals’ defense was torched on Thursday night in the Battle of Ohio as the club fell to the Cleveland Browns, 30-35.
What a difference a week can make. After a home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Queen City was buzzing from an impressive defensive outing that saw the visitors held to just 13 points. That optimism came to a screeching halt after that Battle of Ohio on Thursday night as the Cincinnati Bengals fell to the Cleveland Browns.
When the damage was done, the Browns rushed for over 200 yards on their way to putting up 35 points. Perhaps the most heartbreaking stretch for the orange and black faithful came in the fourth quarter with the team in striking distance after an impressive touchdown drive from Joe Burrow.
Down just five points, one defensive stop from Cincinnati would have put their dazzling rookie quarterback back on the field to finish off their northern rivals. Instead? The defense gave up three straight rushes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Thursday night wasn’t all bad for the Bengals
While the defense undoubtedly gave WhoDey nation flashbacks of the horrific 2019 season, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Zac Taylor’s squad.
Joe Burrow looked exactly as you would expect a first overall pick to look. Often times in complete command of the offense, the reigning Heisman threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, spreading the wealth to his plethora of receivers. Even if the Bengals finish the season winless, at the very least, they know they have the right guy under center.
The offensive line also performed better than it did in week one. Jonah Williams, Michael Jordan, and Trey Hopkins look to be capable starters and building blocks moving forward. Sure, the right side of the trenches is still a mess, but compared to what the unit has been in the past, its a step in the right direction.
The Bengals have fallen into an 0-2 hole but will have 10 days to gameplan and get healthy. With any luck, defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels will be able to return when Cincinnati goes to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo could certainly use the reinforcements after his unit’s performance in primetime.