Three Things We Learned from the Cincinnati Bengals 34-11 Over the Detroit Lions

Three Things We Learned from the Cincinnati Bengals 34-11 Over the Detroit Lions

Willie Lutz
2 years ago
3 min read

For the second time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals went on the road and delivered an absolute thumping. 

Leaving behind the bitter taste of an overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Bengals easily could’ve laid an egg in Detroit. 

Instead, they laid down an outclassing of the Lions on their home field. 

Sure, their 24-10 win at Heinz Field over the Pittsburgh Steelers is of higher quality, their 34-11 effort over the Detroit Lions came with an even bigger smack down. 

#1: By Pounding the Lions In Detroit, the Bengals Proved They’re a Good Team

Congratulations, Bengals fans, for the first time since 2015, you have a good team representing the City of Cincinnati (and a great one playing at the college level at Nippert Stadium). 

On a Sunday where they only allowed 36 rushing yards and 0 points before the eight-minute mark in the fourth quarter, the Bengals hardly broke a sweat taking down Detroit. 

Right now, Pro Football Focus gives the Bengals the sixth-highest overall grade (83.6), ninth-highest offensive grade (78.2), sixth-highest defensive grade; that’s a pretty convincing sample. 

Granted, the offense needs to kick themselves into gear sooner than later. Sunday marked the first time the group broke the 30-point threshold despite having a great set of offensive skill players. 

Joe Burrow continues to have bright moments, Ja’Marr Chase is running away with the Rookie of the Year Trophy, and Joe Mixon looks like a top-level running back… and they still only led 10-0 at halftime in Detroit. 

#2: CJ Uzomah Is Becoming Quite the Touchdown Target for Joe Burrow

Far from a household name, CJ Uzomah continues to emerge as a touchdown weapon for this Bengals offense. 

A year ago, Uzomah was four weeks removed from a season-ending Achilles tendon tear. 

Now, he’s scored three touchdowns in the last three weeks, including a nice, short-yardage grab to put Cincinnati up 27-0 late early in the fourth quarter. 

Seemingly, Burrow trusts Uzomah’s hands in crucial spots and the seventh-year tight end is proving that decision quite wise. 

After all, Uzomah’s given Burrow a 149.2 passer rating when targeted and catching 87.5% of the passes coming in his direction. Watch for that chemistry and trust to grow in upcoming weeks. 

#3: Once a Question, Now An Easy Answer: Trey Hendrickson Is A Major Pass-Rush Upgrade

Swapping Carl Lawson for Trey Hendrickson in free agency was a move that left a majority of Bengals fans unsettled; while Hendrickson had more sack production, Lawson generated more pressure. 

Flash forward to 2021 and that conversation has become moot; Hendrickson has 5.5 sacks and 17 hurries through six games. 

Plain and simple, he’s been an incredibly valuable pick-up for this Bengals defense and has yet to see an offensive line that can naturalize his pursuit. 

Matching his 13.5 sacks with the New Orleans Saints always sounded a little too lofty; there’s no Cam Jordan in Cincinnati to compliment Hendrickson. 

Instead, Hendrickson is getting more work done by himself and showing he’s more than a pressure-sack machine. Currently, he’s on pace for 15.5 sacks and showed no signs of slowing down against rookie tackle Penei Sewell. 

Hendrickson elevating his game fits the narrative of the Bengals defense as a whole, a group that looks like one of the league’s top-tier units through the first third of the year. 

While the team wishes they had rookie edge rusher Joseph Ossai to compliment Hendrickson, their pass rush looks like an exciting unit to watch for several years to come. 

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