The Bengals put up an excellent fight on the road in week one. CenturyLink Field is one of the hardest places to play, but Cincinnati came prepared.
New head coach, Zac Taylor, impressed in his first action with the Bengals. Here's what went right and what went wrong for Cincinnati in week one:
The passing game was better than anyone could have expected in this contest. The Bengals were without 7-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, A.J. Green to start the year, and Seattle had just acquired Jadeveon Clowney in a trade.
Despite all of this, the Bengals made it work through the air. Zac Taylor pulled a lot from Sean McVay's playbook during his time in Los Angeles. He used the play-action pass well to help free up receivers:
The passing offense looks to be promising, as Andy Dalton found 8 different receivers on Sunday. Dalton posted a passer rating of 106.5 and was responsible for 418 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air.
The offensive line was surprisingly good in this game. They had their ups and downs, and a few mental lapses here and there, but they exceeded expectations in this contest.
Though they surrendered 5 sacks by the end of the game, most of them came late when the Bengals were trying to make a play to regain the lead.
When the line is functioning as a unit, Dalton is able to step up into the pocket and is given the time he needs to make plays down the field - much like this one to John Ross:
Here's another example of the Bengals offensive line creating a clean pocket for Dalton:
The Bengals couldn't get much going on the ground in this game, as they averaged just 2.4 yards per carry. This could have partially been due to the fantastic run defense the Seahawks possess with players like Bobby Wagner.
There are certain things this unit needs to work on, and Andre Smith had his struggles against Jadeveon Clowney, but all-in-all the offensive line gave Dalton the protection he needed.
The defensive line for the Bengals was excellent in this contest. They were able to hold one of the league's top running teams from 2018 to just 2.9 yards per carry.
This defensive unit also harassed Russell Wilson all afternoon, as they were responsible for 4 sacks on just 24 dropbacks by Wilson.
Second-year edge defender, Sam Hubbard was one of my breakout candidates this year, and he stepped up with a monster game. Here he is containing the edge and making the play:
Geno Atkins was solid up the middle, as always, and Carlos Dunlap had a good afternoon. With the emergence of Hubbard, this could be a special unit upfront for the Bengals.
Fumbles and missed opportunities:
The Bengals really dominated in every facet of the game. They outpaced Seattle in yardage, first downs, and total offensive plays.
However, winning the turnover battle is key in football, and the Bengals did not execute in this department. They lost 3 of their 4 fumbles which put the Seahawks in excellent field position on more than one occasion.
Randy Bullock also had a missed field goal attempt that could have affected the outcome of the game.
What's done is done. Overall, the Bengals had a promising performance on Sunday. They will look to build on this as they prepare for the 49ers in week two.