After falling behind 17-0 and entering half time with a 14-point deficit, the Cincinnati Bengals stunned Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers en route to a 34-23 victory at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It was quite the comeback for the NFL's hottest team who now lead the division, thanks to a Ravens loss on Saturday.
With this game in the books, let's take some time to discuss the winners and the losers. We'll start with the losers.
Not everything was going well for Cincinnati. The Bengals run game mustered up just 53 yards on the ground with Samaje Perine leading the way with 24 yards. Joe Mixon had 21 yards while Joe Burrow rushed for eight yards. The Bengals averaged just 2.5 yards on the ground. This won't do when the playoffs come around. They need to be more consistent with running the ball.
The rookie had some good moments in the game but for the most part, he got schooled against Brady. It was a tough spot to put the Nebraska product in, as he and Dax Hill made up two-thirds of the cornerback room and they're both rookies.
Taylor-Britt got injured at the end of the game too but fortunately, he should be healthy enough to play next week against the Patriots.
I'll be floored if Anarumo doesn't get hired by another team in the offseason because what he's done as the Bengals' defensive coordinator is insane. This man continues to make second-half adjustment after second-half adjustment and has offenses puzzled in the final two quarters of action, even if they dominate in the first half.
In this game, despite not having Trey Hendrickson, Mike Hilton, and eventually Sam Hubbard, Anarumo made the necessary adjustments for his defense and it worked. They rattled Brady for the third and fourth quarters and forced four turnovers, which in turn, allowed the Bengals to work their way back into the game.
I've said this before in a previous article but selfishly, I hope teams aren't interested in Anarumo because he's been amazing as the defensive coordinator this year.
Maybe Boyd didn't finish the game with crazy numbers but give credit where credit is due -- The guy dislocated his finger last week and was back on the field balling out a week later. He was second in receiving yards on Sunday with 35 and had one of Joe Burrow's four touchdowns.
Anyone who forced a turnover
There were so many turnovers that it was hard to keep track of who did what. Germaine Pratt had an interception, Tre Flowers had an interception, D.J. Reader recovered a fumble, and Joseph Ossai recovered a fumble. It's not easy to steal the ball away from Tom Brady but the Bengals defense managed to do so FOUR times.
This was a game that showcases how the Bengals are never out of a game, no matter what the score is. That Halloween loss to the Browns feels like a lifetime ago and this Bengals team is in a groove right now for sure. They're going to be a tough out in January.