The Cincinnati Bengals made sure that the Detroit Lions would go another week without a win, as they took it to the Lions, winning 34-11 in the Motor City. The win bumps the Bengals up to 4-2 and it was a much-needed win after that gut-wrenching loss against the Packers last week.
What takeaways were there to be had from the 34-11 victory?
Offense has to be better
It’s hard to complain about much when the right team wins but man — The Bengals’ offense was not very good in this one. They only led 10-0 entering the locker room at half time and aside from the opening drive that resulted in a touchdown, the offense was bad. Like, really bad.
While they got it going in the second half, that kind of performance won’t do next week against the Ravens. Heck, it won’t do against most of the remaining teams on the schedule, which gets much tougher from here on out.
Defense is back to dominant
Okay look — The Lions’ offense was atrocious on Sunday but the Bengals’ defense made them look really, really, really bad. They held Jared Goff to under 100 yards passing for most of the game (he finished with over 200 thanks to garbage time and the backups being in), limited the Lions to 36 yards rushing, and pitched a shutout midway through the fourth quarter until the Lions kicked a field goal to avoid being shut out. It was clear by the end of the game that Detroit was surrendering because they knew this unit wasn’t doing anything.
After some rocky performances the past few weeks, it was good to see the Bengals’ defense stand up to the task of making a bad team look even worse.
Right Guard in limbo
The Bengals opted to give sixth-round rookie Trey Hill his first start on Sunday, as Jackson Carman was recently activated from the COVID list and didn’t practice during the week. Hill did not look good, getting back-to-back penalties on one drive in the first half, that really hurt the offense.
Carman was put into the game after it was clear Hill was struggling but then Carman was carted off in the third quarter. With Xavier Su’a-Filo and D’Ante Smith both on IR, the Bengals are starting to run out of options for right guard, especially if Carman ends up having to miss some time as well.
Hendrickson worth every penny
Some wondered if the Bengals made a big mistake in passing on Carl Lawson and signing Trey Hendrickson to a big contract instead. Yeah, it’s clear that Cincinnati made the right decision here, as Hendrickson has been worthy of his contract.
The former Saint finished this game with two tackles, one sack, and one QB hit. He should have had more than just the one sack but he was definitely held on multiple attempts.
Evans gets involved!
With Samaje Perine unavailable, sixth-round rookie Chris Evans finally got a chance to show what he could do in the offense. He scored the first touchdown of his career with a 24-yard reception in the first quarter and also had his first NFL carry. It was good to see him getting involved more but now the team needs to continue getting him into the game because this kid is elusive.
Mixon looked perfectly fine
After getting banged up against the Jaguars two weeks ago, Joe Mixon was limited last week in the loss to the Packers but seemed A-okay in Detroit. The Bengals running back rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries while grabbing five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
I’d say he’s doing just fine.
This was a big statement from the Bengals, who got off to a rough start but found their footing in the second half offensively. The defense looked incredible, shutting out the Lions for most of the game and now hoping to be able to limit a much tougher offense in the Ravens next weekend.
People might think “But it was against the Lions” and what more could you have asked for in this one? The Bengals won convincingly and that hasn’t been the case in any of their games this year. Their last 20+ point victory was in 2015 against the Browns so this was a long time coming.
For now, however, the Cincinnati Bengals are 4-2 and it’s hard to be upset about anything right now.