3 takeaways from Bengals’ much-needed week 15 win vs. Broncos

Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals move to 8-6 on the year after squeaking by the Denver Broncos by a score of 15-10. The first half was abysmal for both offenses, as it was just a 6-3 Bengals advantage at the half.

With another game in the books, let’s take a look at some takeaways from this game.

Conservative call pays off for Zac Taylor

Bengals Twitter was not happy when, on 3rd-and-9, Cincinnati opted not to put the ball in Joe Burrow’s hands and instead decided to run the ball with Samaje Perine. The good guys didn’t get the first down and punted the ball back to Denver, putting the game in the defense’s hands once again.

Zac Taylor got a lot of crap for calling a conservative game in last week’s loss to San Francisco so one might have expected him to buck the trend and let Burrow air it out on 3rd-and-9. Taylor didn’t listen to the criticism throughout the week and while fans weren’t happy about the call, it ended up working in Taylor’s favor this week.

The call wasn’t a popular one but at the end of the day, the Bengals won. Still, it was pretty telling that when faced with a nearly identical situation as last week, Taylor opted to play it safe and not be aggressive.

Injury bug in full force

The Bengals were fortunate to stay mostly healthy throughout the season but the injury bug has bitten them hard in recent weeks. We’ve seen guys like Riley Reiff and Logan Wilson go down over the past two weeks and this game was another brutal one as far as injuries go.

In this game, Cincinnati saw Hakeem Adeniji, Joe Bachie, Khalid Kareem, and Joe Mixon all get injured at some point. Adeniji’s injury led to Jackson Carman getting slotted in at right guard, Bachie was playing well but him going down led to the team being very thin at linebacker, Kareem was making plays before he got injured, and Mixon is obviously one of the biggest stars on offense.

Injuries are a part of the game but they couldn’t be happening at a worse time for this team as they’re poised to make a run at not just the playoffs but the division crown.

Trae Waynes continues to flop

If one thing is abundantly clear when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s that Trae Waynes won’t be on the team next year. The former free-agent cornerback has not played well for the team in the whopping three (THREE) games he’s appeared in since signing with them in the 2020 offseason.

This game was a rough one for Waynes, as he was straight-up bullied on the Broncos’ lone touchdown of the game and at one point was benched for Tre Flowers. There was no way for the Bengals to know that Waynes would be this bad and injury-prone so you can’t blame them for signing him in 2020 but he will likely be on his way out of the Queen City following this season.

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This win was huge for Cincinnati and instead of being 7-7 and sitting in the cellar of the AFC North, they’re now 8-6 and at the top of the pack in the AFC North. It was quite the weekend for them.