3 Bengals takeaways from Week 2 loss to the Bears
The loss moves the Bengals to 1-1 and they will take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 3.
Here are three Bengals takeaways from their Week 2 loss to the Bears.
Joe Burrow will be fine
For as sharp and efficient as he was in the season opener, Joe Burrow was equally as erratic and off the mark against the Bears in Week 2.
He finished the game 19-30 for only 207 yards for the Bengals. What had people mind blown was that Burrow had a stretch of three straight passes on three straight possessions that were all intercepted.
Joe Burrow throws three interceptions in three consecutive passes 😱
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 19, 2021
That’s super rare and it just showed how dominant the defense for the Bears was on Sunday against the Bengals and Burrow.
Still, this is likely just an anomaly for the second-year gunslinger out of LSU. Burrow is still developing and crafting his game and despite being in year two, keep in mind he missed much of that rookie season after suffering a torn ACL.
One game like this won’t define Burrow and certainly shouldn’t send people towards the panic button.
He rebounded nicely after the three interceptions by throwing a perfect rainbow to Ja’Marr Chase that made things interesting late. Cincinnati still lost 20-17 but Burrow kept on slinging away even after the three picks, which is a good sign.
Cincinnati has three awesome weapons in the passing game
While many have pleaded for the Bengals to address the needs of the offensive line in the last couple of years, Cincinnati has instead opted to build a core of weapons on the offensive side.
They drafted Tee Higgins with the No. 33 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and took Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Those two, along with Tyler Boyd, all played well in spurts against the Bears and did so as well against the Vikings.
Boyd is the eldest of the three and is just 26-years old. A second round pick in 2016 himself, Boyd really started to hit his stride in the 2018 season. He’s posted two, 1,000 yard receiving years and could very well do so again.
Higgins and Chase get a lot of the media attention because they are the “newer” toys for the offense and for Burrow. Chase is a smooth route runner with dazzling speed while Higgins is crisp in his own right and has great hands.
Not many will talk about it or take notice, but the Bengals sneakily have a really good core group at wide receiver. A lot of the pieces for that offense are already in place. The wide receiver room seems set for the years to come.
While targets could vary on a week-to-week basis among the three, they all provide something a little bit different to an offense that is looking to get better and better with Burrow as the franchise quarterback.
The defense gave Justin Fields plenty of issues
When Andy Dalton went down early with a knee injury, it summoned rookie quarterback Justin Fields onto the field and under center for the Bears.
Chicago fans have been clamoring for the rookie out of Ohio State to be the starter but head coach Matt Nagy hasn’t budged off his stance of starting Dalton.
Dalton and Fields are two very different quarterbacks so after spending a week on preparing for Dalton only to see Fields enter early, it could’ve easily thrown the Bengals off their mark. Instead, they boxed up Fields most of the day.
The Bengals defense held the rookie to 6-13 passing for just 60 yards and one interception. Fields attempted to use his legs a lot but only carved out 31 yards on 10 rushes. Cincinnati’s defense showed up early and often and were the sole reason the Bengals had a chance at the end to pull off the miraculous comeback.
This was a defense that struggled big time almost across the board in the 2020 season. Week 1 featured a more high scoring affair against the Vikings but in Week 2, the Bengals defense had no issues putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Nobody will claim that this Bears offense is a top tier unit or anything close to what the Kansas City Chiefs have. It is still a group with plenty of talent and a dynamic rookie quarterback that many thought would breeze by Cincinnati once he entered the game. The Bengals had other plans.
A big, Week 3 matchup against AFC North rival Pittsburgh awaits the Bengals next. Despite his woes in Week 2 and the Steelers having a stingy defense, expect Burrow to bounce back and look much sharper in that matchup than he did against the Bears. And who knows, maybe this defense will keep surprising people along the way.