Cincinnati Bengals: Best and worst from overtime Week 1 win

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

It’s difficult to complain after an opening week win, especially against a team with terrifying weapons like Minnesota. However, there were a couple of negatives with the Cincinnati Bengals‘ thrilling 27-24 win Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

There were also many, many positives. Let’s break down the good and the bad from a glorious Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Good – Home field IS an advantage

The “Jungle” is back. At least for this week, and hopefully well into the season.

Many people scoff at the notion that a rowdy crown can influence a game, but the Vikings had three false start penalties on their first drive. Folks, these are professionals. There is a reason the Vikings had three false starts.

Despite the smattering of purple jerseys, this was a boisterous, rowdy home crowd starving for something to scream for. Zac Taylor and the boys gave them something today, and the Who Dey faithful didn’t disappoint.

I was at the game and it was the loudest I’ve heard since 2015. We all remember 2015, right? Perhaps this is the team to deliver us back to loud stadiums.

Good – Free agent influence on defense already felt

Eli Apple finished with six tackles (though yes, he did have a rough day otherwise), Larry Ogunjobi with a sack and two tackles for loss, B.J. Hill with two sacks, Mike Hilton with six tackles, see a trend? While the secondary had trouble with the veteran Adam Thielen, they did a nice job containing the explosive Justin Jefferson, as well as Dalvin Cook.

The strip of Cook by former Raven Ricardo Allen was a huge turning point in the game. Allen brought that opportunistic mindset he gained playing for Baltimore, to the Cincinnati secondary and it paid off almost immediately.

Good – Joe Mixon is a beast

Joe Mixon had 33 touches Sunday. That’s  an insane number. However it was EXACTLY what the Bengal offense needed.

On a Sunday when Joe Burrow was making his triumphant return from a gruesome knee injury, Mixon consistently bailed out Zac Taylor and his mostly conservative play calling by running angry, hard, and with a purpose. After briefly leaving injured, Mixon returned to stabilize an offense that will surely be hurting if he misses any time.

Bad – Offensive Line was… offensive at times

Joe Burrow simply cannot be allowed to be sacked five times In a game. The Bengals quarterback played a very efficient game that was dominated by a conservative game script, ostensibly to protect the franchise from abuse. That simply didn’t happen.

The Vikings brought decent pressure, but the Bengals must do a better job of sliding protection and picking up blitzes. On two sacks, Drew Sample and Samaje Perine whiffed on pass protection, resulting in Burrow tasting turf.

The assumption is, both Sample and Perine are on this roster because of their prowess in pass pro. If that isn’t the case lets see what Thaddeus Moss and Jacques Patrick can do with the opportunity. Perhaps it’s a bit too early to put any players on the street, but both will need to shore up protection or Burrow, and the season will suffer for it.

Bad (?) – Zac Taylor is a gamblin’ man

Admittedly I’m torn on this. I’m all for taking risks and rolling the dice….WHEN the time is right. Is the time right when you are in your own territory, controlling the game up 14 points? Fair question, to which I would say no.

The defense was holding up well, the offense was spotty, and you have one of the better punters in the league in Kevin Huber. Kick the damn ball and play defense!

That brings us to the fourth and centimeters in overtime. While the logical call would’ve been a QB sneak, with Burrow’s new knee, its hard to question the decision NOT to have him put his head down and drive forward. That being said, a deep ball to C.J. Uzomah? What in the name of Riverboat Ron Rivera was that call?

Thankfully it worked out, and thankfully for Zac Taylor’s job security the Bengals got the win, but let’s hope Taylor picks and chooses his spots a little better as the season progresses.

5 Things We Learned in Overtime Win. light. Related Story

It was a great Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, punctuated by a good victory over what should be a playoff team. Hopefully the Bengals can continue to grow and the home fans can continue to to bring the noise and we can talk about potential playoff scenarios at Thanksgiving.