The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-3 after starting the year at 0-2. While they're not in the clear after taking down the Seattle Seahawks, especially with their difficult schedule coming up, fans absolutely are content with the team sitting at .500 as the Stripes enter their bye week.
Let's take a look at what we learned in the 17-13 victory.
Defense paved the way to victory
Outside of the Seahawks' first drive of the game where they marched the length of the field and took a 7-0 lead, the Bengals' defense played well. They picked off Geno Smith twice and sacked him another four times while hitting him 13 times.
The run defense was much better this week but it still has a long way to go if this team wants to be in the thick of the Super Bowl race in three months. The Seahawks, for whatever reason, didn't run the ball as much as they probably should have either.
Without the defense playing as well as it did on Sunday, the Bengals don't get this win. Yes, they gave up chunk plays but they really were a bend, but don't break unit during the Sunday afternoon victory.
What happened to the offense after half time?
The Bengals scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game and then were unable to move the ball much at all. Joe Burrow looked off in the second half and made some really bad throws. The run game couldn't get anything going either.
The offense played really well early on, with Burrow throwing touchdowns to Tyler Boyd and the birthday boy Andrei Iosivas but after that, the only points they added was from Evan McPherson after the defense turned the Seahawks over.
We've yet to see both sides of the football play well in a game this season and that's frustrating. Once the offense and defense can consistently play well, this Bengals team is going to be hard to beat.
Back in the AFC North race
The AFC North hasn't been as lethal as a lot of people thought it might have been this year but that's good news for Cincinnati, who now at 3-3 has a realistic shot to win the division again. The Ravens are still at the top of the division at 4-2 with the Steelers behind them at 3-2 (they're on the bye this week).
Had the Bengals dropped this game and were sitting at 2-4, winning the division would have been a tough task. It still won't be easy but 3-3 is far more ideal than 2-4.