A Super Bowl appearance to a lost season in such a short time? No, Cincy has to figure this out, and soon. But what’s gone wrong for Who Dey Nation thus far in 2022?
Not A Super Bowl Hangover
After what now seems like a dream season for the Bengals, running the gauntlet and a Super Bowl appearance, who could have seen this type of start for Cincy in the ensuing year? This is no “hangover”. I don’t believe in that philosophy at all, you either prepare your players during the offseason and during the week or you don’t. I also don’t see a couple of “gut-wrenching” losses that saw Cincinnati fall at the buzzer to game-winning field goals in the last moments.
I would see it that way if they lost 31-28 and 45-42 to playoff-caliber teams, but that is not what happened, is it? No, Zac Taylor’s team lost in embarrassing fashion in Week One to a Mitch Trubisky-led Pittsburgh Steelers side, in a game where “top-five quarterback” Joe Burrow turned the ball over five times, was sacked time and time again, and saw no spark from the offense throughout the game. The offense was what got the Bengals to the final game last season, and before you come at me with the offensive line issues, this offseason was supposed to be the big revamp!
Chase! Where Art Thou?!
Where has Ja’Marr Chase been? I’ve seen him on the bench two weeks in a row now as the opposing team’s kicker hits the game-winner, and he’s sitting there like “Oh man, so close we’ll get ’em next time guys”. I don’t think there’s going to be any getting anyone next time if the QB can’t make a read because he’s getting rushed by only four guys and still getting home, because when that happens the coverage can still drop six or seven guarding four or five receivers.
Do the math! When I look in-depth, it’s really not that surprising that the Bengals are struggling mightily on offense, but it’s just astounding because of how elite they looked at times last season. And it’s not fair to put the blame on Burrow and Chase, truly because of how poorly the protection is, but Coach Taylor needs to figure something out because his team is looking at a potential 1-4 start, as they see the Jets and Dolphins in weeks three and four. Robert Saleh is a defensive-minded coach, why shouldn’t a few of his schemes work against this anemic Bengal O-line?
I wrote an article during the summer debating whether Chase or Justin Jefferson would be the better WR this season, and I picked Chase! I picked Chase because I thought he would have the opportunity to actually make catches, but at this moment I wish I had chosen the receiver from Minnesota. Jefferson has had far more opportunities to make plays in his offense than Chase does in the early stages of the season.
Not saying they’ll lose to New York, but I have no reason to believe they will blow them off the field because I’ve seen nothing from the offense thus far. Has the defense been all that impressive? I don’t know, who have they played? The aforementioned Trubisky and Cowboys backup Cooper Rush who they lost to! Rush didn’t light the world on fire but firstly who expected him to and secondly, he didn’t even need to.
Can This Be Fixed?
After week one, I almost started Burrow in my fantasy leagues because I was expecting him to play with a chip in Dallas, but it’s truly difficult to do so when Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch are breathing down your neck on eight out of ten snaps. So, they’re winless through two games against inferior opponents. Burrow has already been sacked thirteen times. In two weeks. That’s absurd guys, please protect your franchise.
Alright, well I have good news for Bengals fans. The NFL season is only seventeen weeks, but there are more twists and turns within those seventeen weeks than there are in an entire summer of MLB baseball. Burrow throws for 435 and five touchdowns against the Jets next week and I won’t say they’re completely back, but I would certainly feel exceptionally better about their chances to take the North back over because truly, the division doesn’t look so great at the moment.
Right This Ship
I want to see the Burrow to Chase connection back and rolling because it’s certainly best for football when these Bengals are hungry and competitive. Hopefully, they have a strong week of practice and get some things sorted offensively to be ready to smash the Jets in Jersey. If they don’t I’ll be back next week with an all-time rant for “Who-Dey Nation”.