What an embarrassing game for the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite not having to go against Dak Prescott and instead facing his backup, Cooper Rush, the Bengals couldn't muster more than 17 points on offense and the defense failed to get pressure. It was a daunting loss and the stripes are now 0-2... They might not be making the playoffs this year if history is any indication.
With this game in the rearview mirror, let's take a look at the winners and losers.
Bengals fans weren't even sure if Tee Higgins would play this week yet he ended up leading the offense in receiving yards with 71 off of six catches while scoring the team's only touchdown. The offense hasn't lived up to the hype whatsoever but Higgins is off to an impressive start this season.
The pass rush has been quiet so far this season but Sam Hubbard was the only Bengal to record a sack in this game. He also had a key tackle for loss on Ezekiel Elliott in the fourth quarter and finished the game with four tackles, two tackles for loss, two QB hits, and one sack. Solid day for the former Ohio State product.
After missing two kicks that could have sealed the game last week (I'll let you debate amongst yourselves how much Evan McPherson was to blame for either of those), the star kicker bounced back and was the only reason this team was still in the game through the fourth quarter. McPherson converted all three of the field goals he was asked to attempt, giving the Bengals nine of their 17 points.
It's not great when you're outcoached by Mike McCarthy, who Jerry Jones seems eager to get rid of, but that's what we saw on Sunday. McCarthy outcoached Zac Taylor and it showed big-time. The fourth-year head coach was way too conservative in moments where he needed to take more chances and it cost his team dearly.
Fans on social media aren't happy with Taylor through two games this season and they have a right to be frustrated. Yes, the team went to the Super Bowl last season but not many would say that Taylor was the reason why. He's holding this team back through two games.
Frank Pollack and Offensive Line
Two games into the season, Joe Burrow has been sacked a whopping 13 times, including six times in this game. The front office acquired three players in free agency to ensure that the offensive line wouldn't be a weakness again this year but so far, it's a huge weakness.
Ted Karras has been impressive but La'el Collins really struggled to contain Micah Parsons. One would think that Collins had the most to prove considering he was going up against his old team but he got worked all day long.
The o-line has to be much better if the Bengals hope to turn things around. It's Frank Pollack's job to make sure the unit is better and so far, he hasn't held up his end of the bargain.
For the second straight week, Joe Burrow has looked flat and totally different from the guy we saw in the playoffs last season. Yes, it's hard to ball out much when the o-line isn't doing their part but Burrow didn't help his case with some of those sacks.
While it was good to see Burrow not turn the ball over, his final stat line was anything but impressive (199 yards and a touchdown). We heap praise onto the quarterback when he plays well so it's only fair that he's criticized when he doesn't perform well.
The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 and this is not what fans were anticipating entering the season. The beginning of the season's schedule looked favorable and it's entirely possible that the stripes will look back on these two games with regret. As of now, they are not a playoff team, that's for sure.
Up next is the Jets, who took down the Browns on Sunday. That game might be trickier than Bengals fans initially thought.