Sunday, October 6, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 13-6 win over the New England Patriots:
What it means: Until the Bengals string together multiple wins, there really is very little that can be gleaned from their performance Sunday afternoon. They have been inconsistent much of the season, trading wins and losses. We'll see whether they can build momentum after the victory over one of the last of the NFL's unbeatens. Otherwise, the win meant Cincinnati did what we already knew it could -- beat a great team.
Stock watch: Rising: BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Four games into the season, many around Cincinnati were questioning Green-Ellis' role in the Bengals' offense and whether or not he should completely take a backseat to rookie Giovani Bernard, whose speed-driven, electrifying style of play has made him an overwhelming fan favorite. Green-Ellis answered the critics Sunday with his best performance of the season, rushing 19 times for 67 yards and one touchdown. The effort came against the team he spent four years with. Ahead of Sunday's contest, the former Patriot had rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns this season, and was among the league's worst with a 2.7-yards-per-carry average.
Identity found? Six days after offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told reporters he felt the Bengals were still seeking their offensive identity, they came out with a more balanced and diverse attack than they showcased in recent games. Cincinnati started the game by running the ball four times on a four-play drive. The Bengals eventually turned the offense over to their tight ends; Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham finished with a combined nine catches. By the middle of the second quarter, on their fifth drive of the game, the Bengals finally got their receivers involved, passing to Marvin Jones and A.J. Green. In all, the Bengals threw the ball 27 times and ran it 39 times.
Defensive pressure: For the first time, the Bengals got a sack from someone other than a defensive lineman, when linebacker Vontaze Burfict came away with a sack on New England's Tom Brady in the third quarter. The sack was for a loss of 10 yards. In all, Cincinnati had four sacks, including two from defensive end Wallace Gilberry, who replaced Michael Johnson (concussion).
What's next: Cincinnati (3-2) travels to Buffalo for its first of two straight road games.