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 workforce within the division after happening the highway and embarrassing the Baltimore Ravens 41-17 on Sunday.
The Ravens have been the one workforce 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 each one modified in a sport that may have signaled a altering of the guard within the AFC North.
The truth that the Bengals received wasn’t fully stunning, the stunning half was the best way they received: 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 in all probability been probably the most missed story of the 2021 NFL season. Should you watched the protection play final yr, it was completely atrocious. Think about watching Derrick Henry play soccer in opposition to a bunch of elementary faculty 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, every time Jackson would drop again to throw, the pocket would shortly collapse, which normally led to a foul final result for Jackson, like this first-quarter sack by Larry Ogunjobi.
Though Jackson did make a couple of huge 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 mainly nonexistent. Though the Ravens ran for 115 yards, most of these got here from Jackson (88) with Baltimore’s operating backs totaling simply 27 yards.
The very fact the Bengals’ protection has turned issues round makes Cincinnati a scary workforce. 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 large 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 by means of his first seven video games, which is probably the most in NFL historical past for a first-year receiver.
Chase has a reference to Joe Burrow that you simply nearly by no means see with a rookie receiver, even a duo who went to varsity collectively. Jaylen Waddle (Miami) and Devonta Smith (Philadelphia) are each taking part in with a quarterback they went to varsity with, however they are not placing up Chase’s numbers. What Chase has finished by means of the primary half of the season is nothing wanting unbelievable. Due to Chase, there is a good likelihood you will by no means once more hear anybody query the Bengals’ resolution to take him over Penei Sewell within the 2021 NFL Draft.
Burrow threw for 416 yards in opposition to the Ravens with practically 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 your entire AFC. That is not a typo: The Cincinnati Bengals are at the moment the highest seed within the AFC. The Bengals have been exorcising loads of demons this yr and primarily based on the best way issues are going, that is beginning to really feel like a workforce that may be capable to exorcise the 31-year-old playoff demon that is been hanging over its head since January 1991.
Cincinnati 41-17 over Baltimore
Bengals-Ravens grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
New Orleans 13-10 over Seattle
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.)
Indianapolis 30-18 over San Francisco
Colts-49ers grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
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https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/information/nfl-week-7-grades-bengals-get-an-a-for-destroying-ravens-saints-get-b-for-monday-win-vs-seahawks/ | NFL Week 7 grades: Bengals get an ‘A+’ for destroying Ravens, Saints get ‘B’ for Monday win vs. Seahawks