If it wasn’t clear to everybody earlier than this week, it is positively clear now: The Cincinnati Bengals are for actual.
Their offense is for actual. Their protection is for actual, and now, their place atop the AFC North can also be for actual. The Bengals are formally the first-place staff within the division after happening the street and embarrassing the Baltimore Ravens 41-17 on Sunday.
The Ravens had been the one staff the Bengals weren’t supposed to have the ability to beat. Going into Sunday, Lamar Jackson had by no means misplaced to the Bengals (5-0), he had by no means misplaced an October sport to anybody (9-0) and the Bengals had solely scored two offensive touchdowns in opposition to Baltimore in two years. Nonetheless, that every one modified in a sport which may have signaled a altering of the guard within the AFC North.
The truth that the Bengals gained wasn’t utterly stunning, the stunning half was the way in which they gained: They blew Baltimore out of the water. The final time these two groups met, the Ravens rushed for 407 yards, however they bought nowhere close to that whole this time round on a day the place the Bengals’ protection dominated.
The turnaround of Cincinnati’s protection has most likely been essentially the most ignored story of the 2021 NFL season. When you watched the protection play final yr, it was completely atrocious. Think about watching Derrick Henry play soccer in opposition to a gaggle of elementary college youngsters and you will have an thought of simply how unhealthy the Bengals’ protection was final yr.
Certainly one of its largest issues in 2020 was that it could not rush the quarterback. The Bengals completed the 2020 season with a league-low 17 sacks. This yr, they have been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks, together with Jackson, who bought sacked 5 instances bringing Cincinnati’s season whole to 19.
For a lot of the sport, each time Jackson would drop again to throw, the pocket would rapidly collapse, which normally led to a nasty end result for Jackson, like this first-quarter sack by Larry Ogunjobi.
Though Jackson did make a couple of massive performs for Baltimore, he appeared overwhelmed at instances by the Bengals’ cross rush. Sadly for Jackson, he bought no assist from a Ravens floor sport that was principally nonexistent. Though the Ravens ran for 115 yards, most of these got here from Jackson (88) with Baltimore’s working backs totaling simply 27 yards.
The very fact the Bengals’ protection has turned issues round makes Cincinnati a scary staff. We already knew the Bengals’ offense was good, and in some way, it appears to be getting higher each week (It is averaging greater than 30 factors per sport over the previous 4 weeks).
Simply seven weeks into the season, Ja’Marr Chase is doing his greatest to lock up the Offensive Rookie of the Yr award. The primary-round receiver has been making performs all yr and he made one other enormous one for the Bengals on a third-and-2 play within the third quarter.
That 82-yard rating was a backbreaker. It put the Bengals up 27-17 and felt prefer it iced the sport. Chase completed the sport with 201 receiving yards, the ninth-highest whole in franchise historical past. Chase now has 754 receiving yards via his first seven video games, which is essentially the most in NFL historical past for a first-year receiver.
Chase has a reference to Joe Burrow that you just virtually by no means see with a rookie receiver, even a duo who went to school collectively. Jaylen Waddle (Miami) and Devonta Smith (Philadelphia) are each enjoying with a quarterback they went to school with, however they are not placing up Chase’s numbers. What Chase has accomplished via the primary half of the season is nothing wanting unbelievable. Due to Chase, there is a good likelihood you may by no means once more hear anybody query the Bengals’ determination to take him over Penei Sewell within the 2021 NFL Draft.
Burrow threw for 416 yards in opposition to the Ravens with almost half of these going to Chase.
Seven weeks into the season, the Bengals aren’t simply sitting atop the AFC North, they’re additionally sitting atop all the AFC. That is not a typo: The Cincinnati Bengals are presently the highest seed within the AFC. The Bengals have been exorcising quite a lot of demons this yr and based mostly on the way in which issues are going, that is beginning to really feel like a staff which may be capable of exorcise the 31-year-old playoff demon that is been hanging over its head since January 1991.
Alright, let’s get to the grades for each sport from Week 7. When you’re on the lookout for a deeper dive on Cleveland’s 17-14 win over the Broncos that was performed on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Cincinnati 41-17 over Baltimore
Bengals-Ravens grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Atlanta 30-28 over Miami
N.Y. Giants 25-3 over Carolina
Inexperienced Bay 24-10 over Washington
Washington-Packers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New England 54-13 over N.Y. Jets
Jets-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tennessee 27-3 over Kansas Metropolis
Chiefs-Titans grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 31-5 over Houston
Las Vegas 33-22 over Philadelphia
Eagles-Raiders grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Rams 28-19 over Detroit
Lions-Rams grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 38-3 over Chicago
Bears-Buccaneers grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/information/nfl-week-7-grades-bengals-get-an-a-for-destroying-ravens-chiefs-get-an-f-for-blowout-loss-to-titans/ | NFL Week 7 grades: Bengals get an ‘A+’ for destroying Ravens, Chiefs get an ‘F’ for blowout loss to Titans