- Q1 - B-
- Q2 - B
I've said it many times this season and I'll say it again: Hurst has been an excellent safety valve for Burrow. His numbers may not stand out because that's simply not who he is as a player. You're not going to get 20 yards out of him at a time like you would with Higgins or Chase, but he excels at his role as being a reliable target for Burrow to dump it off to when the pressure gets to be too much.
Hurst has easily been the most reliable in the Bengals' passing game, posting an incredible 86.4% catch percentage. He's on pace for the best season of his career so far and even had one of the best games of his career against the team that drafted him in the Ravens, where caught 6 passes for 53 yards and a score. The Bengals would end up losing that game, but his effort was a large part of what kept Cincy in it.
One thing I love about watching Hurst is he outright refuses to go down easy and will carry a defender on his back for an extra five yards if it means getting a fresh set of downs. Again, he's not an explosive target for Burrow to chuck it to 30 yards down the field, but he's someone who can help keep the offense moving, even if it is for short gains at a time.
- Q1 - C-
- Q2 - D+
The offensive line was beginning to show promise in the latter two games of the first quarter, as they only allowed Burrow to be sacked three times in those last two games against the Dolphins and Jets. Unfortunately, it appears they've relapsed and reverted back to looking like they're going to be the death of Burrow, especially against their in-state rivals where Joey B was sacked a total of five times.
Sack totals may have gone down a bit since that abysmal two-game stretch to start the season when they gave up 13 in all, but even then I'd give Burrow more credit for being able to extend the play and avoiding defenders. For what it's worth, Cappa, Karras, and even Volson have shown promise this season that maybe signing/drafting them wasn't a mistake. And that, unfortunately, brings me to my next point.
The unit as a whole may have struggled throughout the season, but there are two positions that have really dragged the line down -- Left and Right Tackle. Collins and Williams, especially against Cleveland for Williams, have not looked good this season. Edge rushers are killing the Bengals offense and it's become abundantly clear that the tackle positions are our biggest needs at the moment.