Week 1's 24-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns was a head-scratching one. Not that the Cincinnati Bengals are accustomed to winning in Cleveland-- they haven't done so since 2017-- but they (especially on the offensive side of the ball) looked much more sloppy in this game than last year's in Cleveland, which was also a blowout loss.
The play call was as suspect as it was during the first half of 2022 and the highest-paid player in NFL history put together arguably the worst game of his career, with a career-low yards (82) and completion percentage (45.1%).
Granted, the weather conditions weren't optimal and Joe Burrow, unsurprisingly, still had cobwebs to dust off, but less than 150 total yards of offense? Eighty-two passing yards on 31 attempts? The atrocious play call? This game felt like I was watching the 2019 or 2020 Bengals again. Specifically, the games where Ryan Finley was starting at quarterback, and I'm sure many of you probably felt the same way.
Thankfully, we hopefully should see a much better game against the Ravens this week. Not to say Baltimore is a bad team, in fact, they've been in the running with Cincy for the AFC North title the past couple of seasons, but the Bengals simply had more luck against them in comparison to the Browns as of late. So, hopefully, Burrow shook off most of the rust he had against Cleveland and this week leading up to the game.
Something else I hope to see besides a better game from Burrow and a win in Week 2 is some of our younger players on the field more. Let's look at three rookies who must play more in Week 2, and who they should replace.