The second quarter of the NFL season has passed and the Cincinnati Bengals leave it with the same record they finished the first with, 2-2, making them 4-4 on the season. Though, after this past week's loss to the Browns and mounting injuries, it feels much worse than just being .500.
I can't tell if these past four games were better or worse than the first four. On one hand, we saw an offensive resurgence and, up until that game against the Browns, continued dominance from the defense. On the other, the good guys lost a lot of key players- some of which for an extended time and blew prime opportunities to get back in the running for the AFC North.
One thing's for certain: the second quarter was as much of a roller coaster ride as the first was, and again we're left with a lot of questions moving forward.
With that being said, let's see how some key Bengals graded and compare them to what I gave them after the first quarter
- Q1 -- C+
- Q2 -- B
Burrow was tough to grade because he played at MVP-caliber for his games against the Saints and Falcons, but then looked bad or, at best, mediocre in their two divisional games against the Browns and Ravens respectively. I decided to give him a B because overall he did look much better in weeks 5-8 than he had in the first four, but I still don't think he's played as well as he did in his 2021 campaign
He's shown flashes of the greatness from that season, combining for 500 yards against the Falcons, but then the very next game against the Browns he had less than half that total, and even then most of those yards came in garbage time along with two meaningless touchdowns that served to do nothing except make the score look better than the game actually was.
He's struggled against the better defenses they've faced, like the Ravens, and for some reason, the Browns are his Bogeyman as he is now 0-4 against them in his career. He's been the perfect embodiment of this season as a whole; wildly inconsistent from week to week. I know some of the faults for his struggles can fall on the O-Line's shoulders -- and trust me, we'll get to them -- but Burrow isn't completely blameless either.
Hopefully, he can get it back together moving forward and, if Chase is out for an extended period, figure out how to run the offense without him.