Bengals vs Ravens
As everyone predicted the Cincinnati Bengals are 2-0 and atop the AFC North. This week the Bengals defeated the Ravens. It was their second 34-23 win in a row but it didn’t come without a cost. Emerging star, running back Joe Mixon, was lost for at least two weeks with a knee injury. Mixon was the spark to this offense and will be a big loss.
Joe Flacco went from looking like one of the best in the league to looking like distinctly average. In a game that they were always behind he threw two costly interceptions as well as two touchdowns. Although he got little help from the rushing attack he spent most of the game running away from the Bengals on his way to passing for 376 as he completed 32 of a whopping 55 pass attempts.
The Bengals offensive line did an impressive job against a Ravens defensive line that can rush the passer. They allowed no sacks as new offensive line coach Frank Pollack has moulded the unit infused with new talent into an effective, aggressive unit. They kept Andy Dalton upright and he responded with his second impressive performance, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions. Three of his four first half touchdowns went to AJ Green.
I’ve written previously about the Bengals draft class and this week it was the turn of another player to stand out. Defensive end Sam Hubbard was a headache for Baltimore all night and recorded his first career sack. Not be outdone, fellow rookie Jessie Bates, added his first career interception.
Browns vs Saints
This may surprise a lot of people but the Brown defence is good The Browns limited the Saints to 62 yards on 23 carries, an average of 2.7 yards per carry. The team has transformed over the past couple of year and it’s only a matter of time before the fully healthy Myles Garrett takes over a game. Larry Ogunjobi already has 3 sacks and is playing great ball. The secondary is much improved. Denzel Ward should prove a real playmaker at corner.
As Andrew Brandt likes to say, “Kickers are like lawyers; no one appreciates them until they need a good one.” The Browns found that out to their detriment on Sunday. Zane Gonzalez’s final two kicks Sunday of the game were a missed PAT followed by a missed field goal that would have given the Browns their first win in 34 regular season matches.
Tyrod Taylor is still a mystifying player. He can look hesitant to throw the ball and holds on to it too long. He can also make plays like the 47-yard strike to Antonio Callaway. This was a thing of beauty. Taylor finished the night with one touchdown and one interception whilst completing an impressive 22 of 30 passes. What wasn’t impressive was their third down conversion rate – just 33%.
Steelers vs Chiefs
The Steelers defence is terrible. It’s especially bad against the pass. A week after tying with the Browns (in a game they should have lost) the Steelers allowed impressive second year signal corner Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to find the end zone six times on Sunday. It was clear the Steelers missed injured corner Joe Haden but this didn’t excuse the miss communication and blown assignments.
The Steelers offence didn’t fare much better early on. They were behind three touchdown before Ben Roethlisberger came to life. Big Ben carried the team with his arm and passed for 452 yards on 39 completions on a ridiculous 60 attempts. The results were three TDs and no turnovers. It looks like every game for the Steelers is going to be a shootout because the defence is just that bad and the offense won’t always put up enough points to bail them out!