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3 Cincinnati Bengals takeaways after Week 2 loss to the Cowboys

Cincinnati Bengals, Bengals, Zac Taylor, Joe Burrow, Week 2

After dropping a stunner to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals traveled down to Dallas to hopefully right the ship against a Cowboys team without Dak Prescott, their starting quarterback who suffered a finger injury in Week 1.

Surely this would be the game where Cincinnati put it all together, right? Dallas would presumably be in shambles, the Bengals would get a bounceback win over a seldom-played opponent, and Joe Burrow would go up 2-0 in AT&T Stadium after winning on the field during his lone season with the tigers of LSU.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite break in Cincy’s direction. The Bengals’ offense looked uninspired, their defense was allowed to take a break due to the stop-start nature of Cincinnati’s offense, and even after tying up the game at 3:45 to go in the fourth, the Bengals whiffed on their final drive and opened the door for Dallas to march down the field and hit a “chip shot” 50-yard field goal on the way to a 1-1 record.

Can the Bengals right the ship and become the 39th team since the merger to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-2? Or has the Cincy Dynasty many fans expected to see commanding the AFC North for years to come proven to be nothing more than fool’s gold? Here are three takeaways from the Bengals’ alarming loss to the Cowboys in Week 2.

3 takeaways from the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 2 loss.

3. Joe Burrow looks rusty

After turning in a borderline MVP-caliber season in Cincinnati last season, Burrow looked rusty in the Bengals’ second game of the season, throwing for just 199 yards on 24-36 for an average of just 5.5 yards per completion. While that stat line is fine minus the average, it’s never good to see a former top pick get outgunned by an undrafted free agent who began the season on the practice squad.

While he tried to keep the game alive with his feet with 26 yards on the ground on four rushes, and was an instrumental part of the team’s final scoring drive, when the game was on the line, Burrow checked the ball down three times and watched the game’s final seconds tick off from the sideline.

2. Zac Taylor called an uninspired game

Speaking of short check downs on the final drive, Zac Taylor, the Bengals’ third-year head coach, called himself a seriously uninspired game, with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn routinely winning the mental game and putting his opponent on his heels, instead of the other way around.

Taylor failed to identify that his offensive line couldn’t block a stationary rock – more on them soon – and never made a concerted effort to funnel the ball to Ja’Marr Chase, who finished out the game with just five catches for 54 yards on nine targets. To make matters worse, the Bengals didn’t have a passing play go for further than 19 yards, which forced burrow to throw a ton of balls without much reward.

1. The offensive line isn’t improved

Heading into the 2022 NFL season, the Bengals’ offensive line was supposed to be better; they signed tackle La’el Collins, center Ted Karras, and guard Alex Cappa in free agency and drafted Cordell Volson in the fourth round out of North Dakota to further fill out their depth chart.

Unfortunately, after allowing seven sacks in Week 1 and six more in Week 2, it’s clear that problem remains.