The 0-2 Bengals look like a Super Bowl hangover victim

It made sense in the event you assumed the Cincinnati Bengals would simply decide up the place they left off.

The Bengals have a enjoyable set of younger gamers that made an ideal postseason run. A play right here or there, and so they’d have been Tremendous Bowl champions. When you could have a quarterback like Joe Burrow, you are not imagined to take a step again.

It seems some warning indicators had been ignored.

The Bengals are off to a tough begin to this season. They’re the primary group within the Tremendous Bowl period to begin 0-2 regardless of being favored by at the least seven factors in every of their first two video games. The losses got here to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, who had been quarterbacked by Mitchell Trubisky and Cooper Rush. The Bengals offense, which is loaded with expertise, turned it over 5 instances in Week 1 and managed one landing in Week 2.

There was a telling sequence on Sunday. The Bengals tied the Cowboys 17-17 and the protection compelled a punt. Burrow acquired the ball on his personal 8 with 2:13 to go. It was an extended approach to field-goal vary, however quarterbacks like Burrow are anticipated to win the sport there. The Bengals are imagined to be a high-powered offense that may transfer up and down the sphere when they should. As an alternative, the Bengals went three-and-out, with three completions gaining simply 8 yards. The Bengals did not even do a good job working a while off the clock; Dallas had greater than sufficient time to get a game-winning area purpose.

The Bengals haven’t been good. They are not getting sufficient explosive performs downfield, which was a trademark of their 2021 season. Joe Mixon, an excellent again, is averaging 3 yards per carry. The offensive line is being blamed for the 13 sacks allowed in two video games, however it’s not all the road’s fault. The Bengals aren’t seeing the return on funding they made into their line this offseason, however Burrow is holding onto the ball too lengthy and that contributes to the issue. And the sacks are a giant motive Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins aren’t making deep catches downfield.

It was onerous to see the Bengals offense being this dysfunctional by means of two video games, however the gradual begin wasn’t completely unpredictable.

The Tremendous Bowl hangover is actual, particularly for the dropping group. It is a lengthy season and it is onerous to climb the mountain once more. There is a motive just one group for the reason that 1993 Buffalo Payments has made the Tremendous Bowl after dropping it the earlier season. Of the primary 55 groups that misplaced a Tremendous Bowl, 17 did not even make the playoffs the next season.

The Bengals might need been particularly weak. They had been 7-6 at one level final season. They gained six of seven after that, however 5 of the wins had been by seven factors or much less. It is onerous to maintain that.

Two weeks into this season, the Bengals appear to be they had been a superb however not nice group final season that acquired on a lucky streak of shut wins. The expertise is there to show issues round shortly. However this season could not have began a lot worse for the reigning AFC champions. They’ve already dug themselves a major gap.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals are off to an 0-2 begin this season. (Picture by Cooper Neill/Getty Pictures)

Listed here are the ability rankings after Week 2 of the NFL season:

It is actually unusual that the Falcons do not use Kyle Pitts in additional inventive methods. He had the identical two-catch, 19-yard stat line in each video games. Perhaps in the event that they used one of the vital gifted tight ends in soccer extra, they might have accomplished that comeback from 28-3 down as a substitute of falling simply quick.

Rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. hasn’t been good however it’s clear that the Texans made a extremely good decide once they took him third general. So long as Stingley stays wholesome he will be an excellent participant. You’ll be able to already see the potential in his finest performs.

The Panthers’ upcoming schedule: vs. Saints, vs. Cardinals, vs. 49ers, at Rams, vs. Buccaneers. A minimum of most of these video games are at dwelling, however the Panthers in all probability will not be favored in any of them. This might flip into 0-7 in a rush. And it looks as if Matt Rhule is already in bother.

This is the checklist of Bears vast receivers who’ve recorded a reception this season:

Equanimeous St. Brown, three catches for 57 yards

Dante Pettis, one catch for 51 yards

Byron Pringle, one catch for 22 yards

Darnell Mooney, two catches for 4 yards

That is it. Seven catches for 134 yards over two video games. One sport was performed in a loopy rainstorm, however it’s nonetheless a troubling stat. Mooney particularly must get far more concerned.

It must be full pace forward for Garrett Wilson, and we’ll look again at Week 1 and marvel why the Jets weren’t that includes him in that sport too. The tenth general decide of the draft regarded nice on Sunday, with 102 yards on eight catches. Between Wilson, Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, there’s greater than sufficient for Zach Wilson to work with when he returns.

The Seahawks offense hasn’t scored a landing in six quarters. No matter acquired into Geno Smith for that first half of the opener towards Denver in all probability is not coming again. The Seahawks are lucky the Broncos had been horrible by the purpose line and mismanaged the sport within the opener, as a result of wins are going to be very onerous to return by.

The Titans acquired blown out by the Payments, and so they will not be the final group to get embarrassed by Buffalo. Nonetheless, this 0-2 begin has been fairly ugly. I am undecided Mike Vrabel can flip this round. The one optimistic is the remainder of the AFC South is likely to be mediocre or worse.

OK, Trevor Lawrence. That is higher. Lawrence missed too many throws in Week 1 and it appeared like an extension of his rookie season. Then in Week 2 he made a number of massive throws, together with many off-platform, in an excellent win for the Jags. It helps to have Christian Kirk, who remains to be overpaid however a giant addition within the offense.

The quantity of explosive performs the Commanders allowed to the Lions on Sunday was troubling. Washington had a extremely good protection two seasons in the past, however that appears to be lengthy gone. They are not going to have a ton of success this season making an attempt to win shootouts.

The principle query is how lengthy the Steelers keep on with Mitchell Trubisky. The offense has not regarded good but. That is not all his fault, however everybody is aware of rookie first-round decide Kenny Pickett is ready behind him. The Steelers play at Cleveland on Thursday in what’s in all probability going to be a low-scoring sport, and there might be requires a QB swap if there’s one other unhealthy outing by the offense.

The Giants’ subsequent two video games are towards the Cowboys and Bears at dwelling. Is it potential we’re a 4-0 begin for Brian Daboll? The Giants may not be all that good, however unusual issues can occur when a group features some confidence early within the season.

The Lions might need a extremely good offense. They’re averaging 35.5 factors per sport. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a star receiver. D’Andre Swift is a big-play working again. However what actually provides the Lions life on offense is an elite line. They will not preserve placing up 35+ factors every week, however they are going to be numerous enjoyable to observe.

Micah Parsons is even higher than final season. If he stays wholesome, he seems to be primed to win NFL defensive participant of the yr. If Cooper Rush performs like he did within the win over the Bengals on Sunday, the protection will preserve Dallas in video games. Perhaps they will be OK by the point Dak Prescott comes again.

DeVante Parker has one catch for 9 yards by means of two video games. That in all probability is not what the group had in thoughts when it traded for Parker this offseason. Parker has by no means been recognized for his consistency, however his quiet begin in all probability says extra a couple of poor Patriots offense than him.

There ought to by no means be one other sport during which Davante Adams will get two catches and 12 yards. It isn’t just like the Cardinals have a lockdown cornerback. It was merely a failure to not get Adams the ball extra, and it is one motive the Raiders took on a really depressing loss after main 20-0 at halftime.

The Cardinals are complicated. They regarded terrible for the primary six quarters of the season. Perhaps even the primary seven. They’d a loopy comeback towards the Raiders that they gained in time beyond regulation. Does that imply they turned a nook? Or was it only a blip in an in any other case unhealthy begin?

The Saints offense has been unhealthy apart from the fourth quarter towards the Falcons and a few rubbish time towards the Buccaneers. They’ve 13 factors within the first by means of third quarters his season. That is not an ideal development, and neither was seeing Jameis Winston revert again to forcing interceptions towards the Bucs.

The Bengals get the Jets this week, and if that is not a win then there’s actual issues. However the three video games after which can be vs. Dolphins, at Ravens, at Saints. The Bengals want to repair their points in a rush or this season might get away from them.

The Colts passing offense clearly is not going to be excellent with out Michael Pittman Jr. within the lineup. Hopefully he returns in Week 3. The query is, are the struggles Sunday totally attributable to accidents, or is there an actual concern that Matt Ryan goes to have a horrible season?

Jacoby Brissett was truly fairly good for Cleveland on Sunday. He was 22-of-27 for 229 yards. His solely interception got here within the last seconds when the Browns needed to press for yardage to get in field-goal vary. It isn’t Brissett’s fault the Browns protection gave up two touchdowns within the final two minutes, or that the particular groups could not get better an onside kick. Brissett will not be nice however Cleveland will take it if he retains taking part in like he did Sunday.

There is no want in piling on Nathaniel Hackett any extra; that has been achieved lots. It is justified after all of the organizational errors by means of two video games. We’ll assume that will get fastened, to some extent. What is likely to be extra troubling is the offense has had some tough moments. Russell Wilson did not look comfy on Sunday. Accidents have not helped. Hackett the play-caller must get higher at that facet as effectively.

Kirk Cousins was urgent and regarded terrible in Monday night time’s loss to Philadelphia. We have seen that earlier than from him. It isn’t a motive to surrender on the Vikings being good this season. The Eagles may simply be that a lot better.

There’s an argument to be made that the 49ers will win extra video games this season now that Trey Lance is out. We had no thought what Lance was going to do. He might have had an ideal season, or appear to be he had barely performed in two seasons. We all know precisely what Jimmy Garoppolo can do. He would not have a excessive ceiling however he’ll run the offense. The 49ers are lots simpler to foretell going ahead. Perhaps that is good

The Ravens took a nasty loss, however Lamar Jackson was nice. He had an ideal passer score and 118 speeding yards throughout the fourth quarter, which is exceptional. He is effective. It is the secondary that might be a difficulty. The Ravens have to get wholesome there, and quick.

All the eye this week might be on Justin Herbert and his rib cartilage fracture. Evidently, the Chargers aren’t successful many video games if Herbert has to sit down out, or if he’s restricted in any approach. He was clearly in numerous ache on Thursday night time, although he nonetheless accomplished two fourth-down passes together with a landing after the harm.

Aaron Jones is a extremely good participant, and the Packers had been proper to confess their Week 1 mistake in not getting him concerned extra. He was the focus on Sunday night time, which he must be most weeks. It is going to be fascinating to see how the Packers do Sunday towards a Buccaneers protection that has been phenomenal this season.

Nicely then. Tua Tagovailoa deserves each little bit of reward coming his approach this week. His 469-yard, six-touchdown sport must be a reminder that there must be some endurance with quarterback growth. Now that he has a coach that believes in him, and Tyreek Hill to throw to after a reasonably sharp commerce, we might see a real breakout season from Tagovailoa. The primary two video games look fairly good.

The Vikings shut down Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. In Week 2, Jalen Hurts had 333 yards towards them in a simple win. If Hurts is exhibiting that he’s going to take a giant step this season, the Eagles can completely make a Tremendous Bowl.

Ought to we give attention to how good the Rams regarded in taking a 28-3 lead on Sunday? Or how they let a nasty Falcons group again within the sport and wanted a Jalen Ramsey interception to keep away from a disastrous loss? Both approach, the begin to the Rams’ Tremendous Bowl protection might be going lots higher by means of two weeks.

The Mike Evans suspension is not a giant shock, contemplating it is the second time he has blindsided Marshon Lattimore and he acquired suspended for a sport the final time he did it. It does go away an enormous gap within the Bucs offense, particularly if Chris Godwin is not again. Julio Jones missed Week 2 as effectively, and now the Buccaneers want him again in a giant approach.

The Chiefs are doing simply effective, however relying extra on backs and tight ends within the passing offense. JuJu Smith-Schuster has 89 yards in two video games and Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 57. Ultimately the Chiefs will want a receiver to emerge as a harmful possibility, however this strategy is working for the Chiefs to date.

The Payments have been almost good to begin the season. They actually might have one of the best offense and finest protection within the NFL this season.