Cincinnati Bengals are off to a cool start with a 4-1 record heading into our sixth week. Although the path to victory has not been a smooth one the Bengals have managed to only fall behind the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, which puts them in second place in the AFC.
Examples of that “rocky path” are their defeat over the Atlanta Falcons by one point, and then having to overcome a 17-point deficit this past Sunday to beat the Miami Dolphins at home. Luckily, due to a couple of wild touchdowns from defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Michael Johnson, they were able to beat a team that was favored to win by six points in another come-from-behind victory.
This style of winning has caused some to be cautiously optimistic and not ready to declare this “the year”. In fact, most believe the Bengals should’ve dominated a team like the Dolphins, but let’s face it even good teams have off weeks. The difference between a legitimate contender and an average team is finding a way to win, even when they aren’t playing their best game. That is what Cincinnati did this week.
It looks like history may repeat itself for the New York Giants. They are facing a 0-3 start if they fall to the Houston Texans this weekend. Once again, the Giants offense continues to struggle and unfortunately, all eyes will be on Quarterback Eli Manning.
Former New York Jets defensive lineman Damien Woody gave his thoughts during an interview with ESPN:
“Eli is toast. He is toast, OK? Listen, everyone has talked about the offensive line. I mean, I live in the New York tri-state area. You hear it all the time. ‘The Giants offensive line is trash.’ Which they are. They’re bad. They’re bad. There’s no question about that.”
He continued, “But there’s been one constant with the Giants. They’ve had change at GM. They’ve had change at the head coaching position. They signed (wide receiver) Odell Beckham. They drafted a running back. But there’s been one constant, and that’s the quarterback, OK? Eli Manning.”
If learning from failure results in success, let’s hope New York Giants learned a lot this week. To say the offense struggled would be an understatement. On 25 first down plays against the Jaguars, the Giants were only able to average 3.28 yards, which is the fifth-worst average gain on first downs among all the teams.
It didn’t help that the Giants set themselves back on their very first opening drive. With a penalty earned, the Giants had a first and 17 to begin the drive which resulted in them turning it over on downs. Five of the Giants’ seven penalties of the day came on offense and three of those five came on first downs.
That famous quote definitely applied to the Monday Night Football game between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions. Starting rookie quarterback Sam Darnold proved this to be true in particular in his debut performance.
Already having the pressure of being the first choice of coach Todd Bowles, and then the added pressure of this being your NFL debut, Darnold had a lot riding on the game. Unfortunately for Sam, it looked like it was going to be a long night.
On his very first play, he rolled out, locked on his target and released the ball but regrettably the intended target was nowhere in sight. However, Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs was, and he returned that pick for the Lions first touchdown.
Undaunted by his dreadful start, Darnold quickly adjusted, leading the Jets to a 48-17 victory at Ford Field. Darnold finished the night with 198 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Cincinnati Bengals have started the season off on a positive note, with two games behind them and a win for each. That being said, their next move was a little puzzling as the Bengals release safety George Iloka and now list rookie Jessie Bates as the starter at free safety.
George Iloka was a fifth-round selection by the Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft. Iloka had become a very important piece to the franchise and a leader on the Bengals defense since starting in 2013. Iloka’s performance included 227 tackles, 32 blocked passes, 9 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles since joining the Bengals. I am sure this will have big ramifications for the team moving forward.
The offensive line will remain a huge question for the Bengals as they get ready to meet up against the Buffalo Bills in their 3rd preseason game. During the Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys, the offensive unit seem to struggle throughout the game. Frank Pollack, the new offensive line coach, will have a lot to consider before this next game.
Unfortunately for the New York Jets, the game on Thursday night against the Washington Redskins left more questions than answers in regards to who will be the Jets starting quarterback.
Both rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the more experienced QB Teddy Bridgewater are up for the job. Darnold had somewhat of a shaky start. It was not the performance he was expecting, and am sure Coach Todd Bowles was hoping to see more since Sam had missed the first practice at training camp, but this was not Darnold’s night. Although his performance was not bad, the New York Jets would like to see a clearer picture of who will be there starting quarterback.
Darnold went 8 for 11 and 62 yards. He made some impressive throws, but his last one was a turnover in the red zone. Head coach Todd Bowles did, however, absolve Darnold by blaming the mistake on poor play calling.
Although the New York Giants preseason opener resulted in a 20-10 loss against the Cleveland Browns, there were some positive takeaways to consider, even with the newness of the team.
Keep in mind the Giants had a major turnover of personnel, so there is obviously going to be some fine tuning that will need to happen throughout the season. Also keep that in mind New York fans shouldn’t have expected them to come out in their first preseason game looking like the Super Bowl champs of 2012.
One thing to consider in that preseason game is the fact that the best player, Odell Beckham Jr, didn’t play and most of the starters were only seen for a few downs. The biggest impact was running back Saquon Barkley and his explosive start. Managing to get 39 yards on his first touch is a feat that the New York Giants have not seen in a few years. It does look as though the void of a running back has been filled.
I don’t remember the last time I saw a Giants RB run more than 20 yards in one play. #Saquon
It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” Paul “Bear” Bryant
Most people would agree that a great start is necessary for any success. When it comes to football, you really need a great start. Then, you need to continue to be great all the way through until you finish with a successful season.
The New York Giants are looking to do just that. This Thursday they will be facing the Cleveland Browns. Both teams had a rocky start last season as the Browns finished 0-16 and the New York Giants weren’t much better with a 3-13 record. With the addition former Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur as head coach, and a new defensive coordinator in James Bettcher; the Giants are looking to turn things around.