The Cincinnati Bengals put on a show against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, reminding the league that they are serious playoff contenders in 2022.
It only took seven weeks, but the Bengals appear to have finally unlocked their offense -- except for the run game, which could still improve throughout the season.
Joe Burrow put 501 total yards and four touchdowns over Atlanta and made quite a bit of history along the way. Burrow particularly excelled at scoring on the deep ball: after Week 7, Burrow has thrown a touchdown pass of 50-plus yards for a record twelve times over the past two seasons.
The Bengals also nearly saw three different wide receivers finish with 100-plus yard games. Tyler Boyd and Ja'Marr Chase had 155 and 130 yards respectively while Tee Higgins came seven yards short at 93.
Tight end Hayden Hurst wasn't left out, either, and he caught six passes for a respectable 48 yards. Are the Bengals legit again?
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As Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager notes, the Bengals have firmly put themselves in the Super Bowl conversation along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
The team's first few games of the season tested fans' faith, and many in the media grew skeptical of the Bengals' ability to repeat 2021's level of success. However, Week 7's performance proved the doubters wrong, and Cincy has transformed from an under-the-radar playoff contender into a downright scary AFC powerhouse.
The defending conference champion steamrolled the Falcons from the start and were up 21-0 by the second quarter. The Falcons' pass-rush admittedly ranks as one of the worst in the league, yet it was still nice to see the Bengals' offensive line protect Burrow and allow him to find his groove.
The only sore spot in the offense from that game was arguably Joe Mixon, who averaged a measly 3.4 yards per carry.
Still, there is perhaps no better sign that the Bengals are back than seeing Joe Burrow put together his most impressive performance of 2022. Burrow has thrown just one pick since his four interceptions in Week 1 and has been ramping up his accuracy all year.
In Week 7, Burrow reached his peak with a 14.7 Completion Percentage Over Expected score, which is in the 94th percentile of all tracked games.
Burrow is a potential MVP contender. His wideout trio regrew sharper fangs. Cincinnati's defense continues to dominate in the second half of games.
The Bengals are back -- tell a friend.