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Matt’s Take: Joe Burrow, Ja’marr Chase get Bengals get back on track with record setting day in Arizona


In a must win game for Cincinnati against the Cardinals on the road Sunday, Ja’Marr Chase put the city on his back and had a historical performance to get this team back on track.

Everything was clicking between number nine and number one and you could tell that it was going to be a special game from the dynamic duo early into the game. Burrow was finally mobile enough to escape the pocket and it immediately led to an opening of the playbook.

Matt McAdow

The Steelers reeled in a win as well on Sunday, which was needed to give Baltimore another loss. Cincinnati is now just one game back in a wide open division. With Seattle approaching this Sunday, it would be huge for Cincinnati to get to .500 before their bye week.

I can hear the “gulps” from the rest of the AFC North rivals after watching the return of healthy Joe Burrow on Sunday… He’s back.

Positives:

• Joe Burrow was mobile. I believe the sack for a loss of roughly 15 yards was the happiest I have ever been on a negative yardage play, as I was simply happy to see him move around. While he may not be 100 percent yet, it was clear to see that his calf was feeling much better than it did the first four games. Three touchdowns, 317 yards, and a much needed victory.

• Ja’Marr Chase had a franchise record of 15 receptions, 192 yards, and 3 touchdowns on 19 targets. I believe he was right when he stated he was always open previously in the week. He makes the game look so simple and I might go as far as saying he is already the most talented wide receiver to ever put on the stripes.

• Trenton Irwin had himself a day. Eight catches, 60 yards, and a great job filling in as the punt returner. His performance should earn him more snaps going forward even when Higgins returns to the team.

• Germaine Pratt continues to be a top player in the division. He led the team in tackles with 10 and reeled in an impressive interception to put the nail in the coffin.

• Trey Hendrickson continues to be Mr. Consistent. He racked up 2.5 sacks on Sunday and you know exactly what you are going to get from him each down. Only T.J. Watt has more sacks (eight) in the NFL.

• Time of Possession was 38:10 to 21:50 in favor of Cincinnati. That is the largest difference of T.O.P. that I have seen in quite some time.

• Cincinnati finally won the toss and deferred. Electing to receive to start the game drives me insane.

• Cam Taylor-Britt had a pick-six after turning the ball over on downs that completely changed the momentum of the game.

Negatives

• My father is right in despising every time we get to a play where we need one yard. Lining up Joe Mixon to the side of Burrow in shotgun almost never works in short yardage situations, yet we keep going back to it at the goal line or at third and one. Mixon is a “hesitate first and look for a hole” type of running back, but with one yard needed, this isn’t going to cut it. Let’s go back to the drawing board and figure these short yardage plays out and get out of shotgun.

• To continue that conversation, the Bengals were five for 14 on third down. Against a better opponent, this wouldn’t get the job done.

• Cincinnati doesn’t have a tight end threat. Can you recall a game where a tight end didn’t have a single reception for an entire game? Well Cincinnati just had one on Sunday.

• Trayveon Williams had a chance to finish the game off and had miscommunication with Joe Burrow. Burrow was more than angry on the field of play as he pointed at his helmet and yelled in frustration. I miss Samaje Perine and I would say Burrow does as well.

• The offensive line on multiple occasions made Dante Stills look like an established veteran. It doesn’t matter who is on the field or who we bring in, the offensive line always appears to be the same. Is it time for a hard conversation with Frank Pollack? Cincinnati has the 6th highest paid offensive line in football, it’s time they started playing like it.

Matthew McAdow is a freelance sports columnist covering the Reds and the Bengals for a number of regional publications, including The NKyTribune.


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