The Cincinnati Bengals will begin the 2022 NFL season with an 0-1 record following a gut-wrenching 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers,
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from Week 1.
Tyler Boyd: The stat sheet doesn’t pop, buy Boyd’s touchdown on the first drive of the second half was a much-needed sign of life for an offense that struggled mightily for the first 30 minutes. Finishing with four for 33 yards and a touchdown, but his touchdown was the first sign of life we saw from the Bengals.
Ja’Marr Chase: It was a relatively quiet day for Chase, until the fourth quarter. Chase finished with 10 catches for 129 yards and what really should have been the game-winning touchdown. Chase gave us more of the same, being nearly impossible for the first defender to bring down. Chase was the spark the team needed to take the game after a horrific start. Chase left it all on the field and gave the team a chance to win.
Joe Mixon: Mixon had a great game and did his best to will the team to a win. Finishing with 82 yards on the ground and another 63 through the air, Mixon kept drives alive behind an offensive line that clearly has some issues to work out. The bell cow back was everything you could ask him to be, even after getting nicked up in the fourth quarter. You know what you’re getting with Mixon almost any time he steps on the field, and we saw more of the same today.
Cordell Volson: The rookie fourth-rounder had a tough debut. On the first offensive snap of the game, Volson got beat from the snap, leading to Joe Burrow getting sacked. It didn’t get much better from there, unfortunately. A couple of missed assignments kept burrow under pressure and with a chance to cut the lead to 7 near the end of the 2nd quarter, a false start moved the Bengals outside of the five-yard line. The Bengals would settle for a field goal.
La’El Collins: Collins’ first half as a Bengal wasn’t the best, either. Granted, a matchup with TJ Watt isn’t an easy task. Collins looked a bit rusty and Watt took full advantage. Watt blew into the backfield to stuff Joe Mixon as soon as Burrow handed the ball off in the backfield. Watt was able to get off a Collins block long enough to secure an interception in the second quarter.
Joe Burrow: Granted, Burrow was under constant pressure throughout this one, taking seven sacks, but he still made some brutal mistakes that a franchise QB for a Super Bowl contender simply cannot make, including the pick-six to Minkah Fitzpatrick in the first quarter. Burrow finished the game with four interceptions and a fumble lost.
Frank Pollack: Now in his third season with the Bengals, Pollack has yet to produce even an average offensive line. Granted, he’s not always had much to work with, but the Bengals gave him what looked like a solid unit entering Week 1. Even so, the Bengals allowed seven sacks and averaged just 3.0 yards per carry on 27 Joe Mixon runs and couldn’t get the push they needed on far too many short-yardage runs.
Mitchell Wilcox: The guy was put in an impossible position, but it couldn’t have gone worse for Wilcox. After Clark Harris left the game with a bicep injury, Wilcox was forced into reserve duty. After Burrow found Chase with 0:02 left in the fourth quarter, a slow snap from Wilcox led to McPherson’s extra point attempt being blocked. Wilcox had another attempt in overtime, but it didn’t go any better for him. Kevin Huber didn’t have a chance to spin the ball, causing McPherson to hit all laces and missing what would have been the game-winning field goal. In overtime, the offense didn’t even get into position to attempt another one, and you have to assume they were scared to do so.
On to Dallas.