This was not a perfect performance, but it was damn impressive, and while the game got a little too uncomfortable in the second half, major credit goes to the Bengals for looking as sharp as they did this early in the season on a short week.
AJ Green and Tyler Boyd are a pretty badass 1-2 combo. Green's resume is too lengthy and impressive for me to contextualize his performance last night, but Boyd played his best game as a Bengal.
As I was walking to my car after the game, a guy yelled "Geno Atkins is a load!" in my direction. I second those thoughts.
Safety play was huge last night. Shawn Williams had a fantastic night, and perfectly-timed too, given how he was in the spotlight after last week's ejection. Jessie Bates has legit ball skills, and right now might be better than George Iloka. The gamble of letting Iloka go in favor of giving Bates more playing time is paying off.
Welcome to the NFL, Sam Hubbard.
I was in favor of being aggressive at the end of the first half. I was not in favor of being stupid. Marvin, who consistently struggles at the end of halves, crossed that line again before halftime last night.
An Andy Dalton who's kept upright in an Andy Dalton who's allowed to be decisive and quick with the ball. The offensive line did a very, very good job last night, and the Bengals seemed completely prepared for what Baltimore was going to do defensively. This was very, very encouraging.
Those nervous moments you had in the second half? Prepare for more. These guys won't be blowing many teams out, their wins will have to be ugly, and usually close affairs that test our patience. It beats having to endure what we watched the past two seasons.
I wish I could accurately describe the vibe in the stands last night. It was different, and fun. Sort of an "us against the world" thing, almost like being at a concert of an obscure band. I'm not making any sense. I'm babbling. 2-0 makes me babble.
Being a Bengals fan has not been fun for the past 32 months. I'm not ready to put this team in the playoffs or anything, but they have done what a lot of us said they had to do before the schedule gets tougher: go 2-0 and show some encouraging signs. Mainly, I wanted the Bengals to do something to make being a fan fun again. So far, so good.
(Photo: Getty Images)