People are writing things about the Bengals. Here's what they're writing...
From Katherine Terrell, ESPN.com...
The Bengals are two games into the season and remain somewhat of a mystery. They've shown flashes of brilliance, but they haven't put it together in any sort of consistent fashion. Quarterback Andy Dalton looked as sharp as ever when throwing for four touchdowns in the first half against the Ravens, and then he led the offense to five straight punts starting at the 1:22 mark of the second quarter.
At times the Bengals have looked like they possess the qualities to win the AFC North, and at other times they have looked like the team that went 7-9 last season.
It's not a complete surprise that the Bengals might take some time to find their identity. They spent the offseason ridding themselves of their longtime veterans and assembled one of the youngest rosters in the league in the process. There are young players on almost every unit on the team, and the Bengals are prepared for the growing pains associated with that movement.
From Adam Sites, SB Nation...
Everything about the fourth quarter Thursday night screamed that the Bengals were going to blow it. The Ravens rallied from a 28-7 deficit to make it a 28-23 game with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter, and the Bengals offense had slowed to a crawl.
We’ve seen this story before. Time and again, the Bengals have wilted under the spotlight.
But then Cincinnati went on a 10-play, 65-yard drive to set up a field goal and forced a turnover on the Ravens’ next possession to ice it. With the smooth finish and 34-23 victory, the Bengals are now 2-0 and will be in sole possession of the top spot in the AFC North, regardless how the rest of Week 2 shakes out.
The Bengals have started fast before. In 2015, the team rattled off an 8-0 record in the first half of the year, but the season ended just like every other since 1990 — without a playoff win.
Is this team different? There’s at a couple early indications that it might be.
From Ben Baskin, SI.com...
It may only be Week 2, but one thing is clear: the AFC North is up for grabs. The Bengals won on Thursday Night Football last night, beating the Ravens 34–23 (the same score by which Cincinnati beat Indianapolis last week) and advancing to 2–0, alone atop the division. The last time the Bengals started 2–0 in 2015, the team reached the playoffs.
However the game revealed inconsistencies for both Cincinnati and Baltimore—neither team dominated and neither looked completely hapless. Every quarter the momentum just oscillated back and forth—the Bengals have control now ... no, wait ... the Ravens are good now ... no, no, wait. For a period of time it seemed like the team that got more pass interference calls in the end zone would end up the victor.
From Sean Wagner-McGough CBS Sports....
It needs to be said that the Bengals' defensive front is scary and among the best units in the AFC. Atkins, Lawson, and Dunlap all got after Flacco. Atkins finished with two sacks, Lawson had one quarterback hit, and Dunlap had one hit and three batted passes. The Bengals' defense missed out on several opportunities to bring down Flacco, but they did force that final fumble in addition to a third-quarter pick.
They should continue to torment opposing quarterbacks in the games and years to come.
From Pro Football Focus....
The Ravens offensive line had their hands full against a supremely talented Bengals defensive line, which was led by fearlessly by Geno Atkins. Atkins was a force in the interior, racking up two sacks and several quarterback pressures, at times making All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda look silly. Carlos Dunlap continued his ridiculous ability to bat passes at the line of scrimmage, while Andrew Billings, Sam Hubbard, and Jordan Willis all cashed in on the action, generating plays. This unit has the makings to be special in 2018.
The Bengals secondary, which was led by cornerback William Jackson III, took advantage of the struggling Flacco, as they hauled in two interceptions and forced another 10 to fall incomplete. If the secondary can continue to play sticky in coverage, the Bengals will be a playoff contending team as long as Andy Dalton and co. hold up their end of the bargain.
From Chris Wesseling, NFL.com...
His 84 yards on 21 carries might not reflect a superstar performance, but Joe Mixon is emerging as one of the league's most impressive all-around backs -- as Green testified early this week. Behind a capable offensive line, Mixon has showcased a high-octane blend of power, speed, agility and receiving ability in the first two weeks. Don't be surprised if he's playing in the Pro Bowl in early February.
Some a-hole, The Athletic....
Cynicism and jadedness are acquired traits, the cumulative result of one letdown after another. You become a pessimist, but you’re not born that way.
I was thinking about this in the days leading up to last night’s Bengals game, as the 1988 AFC champions got their overdue due, culminating in recognition of that team and its accomplishments at Paul Brown Stadium. That football team was the first one I fell in love with, and for three decades has been a reference point whenever I’m asked why, despite all of the reasons not to, I still root for the Bengals.
I was 11 years old, blissfully unaware then of how hard and infrequent winning is, with no real reason to think that the franchise I’d chosen to root for wouldn’t always be good. It might have been the last time that I thought only good thoughts about the Bengals.
Thirty years later, I’m more or less like anyone who’s spent more than five minutes paying attention to the Bengals. I don’t just fear the worst, I expect it. Disaster is always looming. Failure is always imminent. I’ve grown jaded. I’ve become a cynic.