The Cincinnati Bengals finally returned to form in week three with an impressive win over the Jets. With a score of 27-12, the Bengals took off to an early lead, as Coach Zac Taylor made the decision to receive the kickoff rather than kick after winning the coin toss. Playing from behind happened in the first two weeks and this decision certainly seemed to help with the momentum of the Bengals offense. Burrow lead the way with 275 yards and 3 touchdowns as he looked poised in the pocket due to the better protection from the men up front. Tyler Boyd had 105 yards and a touchdown and running back Samaje Perine “ate” a ton of clock to put a dagger into the Jets defense and end the game. While we had some offensive momentum for the first time this year, the Bengals defense Is what truly won this football game, as Davis-Gaither, Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, and Vonn Bell all had a monstrous game.
The Bengals are now 1-2 and head into a very tough matchup on Thursday against the “Red-Hot” Miami Dolphins. Primetime Joe Burrow is always fun to watch and especially in a night that we are displaying our white helmets, have the Ring of Honor Ceremony, and look to improve our record to 2-2. Cincinnati is currently just 1 game back behind the Browns and the Ravens and a win over one of the best teams in football on Thursday would ease Cincinnati fans minds and show that this Cincinnati team is just as productive as last years team.
· The offensive line looked a lot better, despite ranking 27th out of 30 teams so far in week 3 in pass block win rate. There is still much to improve on, but they didn’t seem to have the communication errors that they had in the first 2 weeks.
· Trey Hendrickson was an animal and put on a show in East Rutherford, as he racked up 2.5 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 2 forced fumbles. He was the standout on the Bengals defense and in my opinion impacted the game more than anyone else on either side of the ball.
· Samaje Perine was very impressive at the end of the game, as he ran off the clock to ensure a Bengals win. Samaje had 1 receiving touchdown, along with 47 rush yards on 9 carries.
· Akeem Davis-Gaither filled in at linebacker and lead the team with 13 total tackles. Having depth at linebacker is hard to find and Cincinnati certainly has it.
· Chidobe Awuzie continued to impress with his coverage at the cornerback position and in my opinion is a top ten player at his position in the league.
· Cincinnati gets some momentum going into Thursday Night Football and the morale in the locker room has increased, as they pulled out a much-needed win.
· D.J. Reader appeared to injure his knee and was not able to return to the game. Reader is probably our most skilled player on defense and is a big reason why our defense is efficient against the run. Losing Reader for any amount of time is a huge loss for the club.
· Joe Mixon couldn’t find running room again in week 3 and had 12 carries for a measly 24 yards. Samaje came into run late in the game and appeared to find running room, which makes you wonder what is going on with our RB1.
· The woes with our kicking crew continued as they had another blunder, as Evan McPherson missed another field goal. While it was beginning to rain, these small chip shots shouldn’t be such a problem and is something to keep an eye on as we play in close games moving forward.
· Hayden Hurst appeared to be our major red zone threat before the year started, but it appears to be the exact opposite through the first 3 weeks. While I believe Hurst is very talented, it appears that we haven’t utilized his size to our advantage in the red zone.
· Two toes in and no touchdown? Don’t get me started on this rule, as it needs changed after this season. Two toes in whether it’s dragging or the direction you are falling should be a touchdown and I believe the majority of the league would agree. This rule took away one of the most impressive touchdowns I have seen from Tee Higgins.
Bob Huggins Joins Matt’s Take
Recent Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Huggins was kind enough to join Matt’s take this week. Anyone who knows me, or my family knows how much we have enjoyed watching “Huggy” coach over the years. As everyone knows, Bob is the current head coach at West Virginia and was the previous head coach at the University of Cincinnati, University of Akron, Walsh College, and Kansas State University. Bob has a current win percentage of .697 with an overall record of 916-399. Huggins is a 3 time USA Coach of the Year winner and has reached the final four on two separate occasions. While Bob now spends the majority of his time in Morgantown, he was and still is a legend in Cincinnati. Before his Hall of Fame coaching career, Bob was quite the athlete. Bob attended Ohio University before later spending 3 years at West Virginia University. If you search the “OHSAA” basketball records, you will find Bob Huggins at number 12 all time in points in a career while attending Bowerston Conotton Valley and Gnadenhutten Indian Valley South (2,438) during his high school career.
Q: What is your favorite memory while coaching at UC and WVU?
A: “The Final Four run in 1992 and the Final Four run in 2010.”
Q: If you could create a starting 5 of past players you have coached, what would it look like?
A: “Kenyon Martin, Nick Van Exel, Steve Logan, Da’Sean Butler, and Pete Mickeal.”
Q: 25 NCAA Tournament appearances, 9 Sweet 16’s, 2 Final Fours…Does your current roster have a chance to add to this?
A: “They have a chance to be really good.”
Q: Who has better food, Morgantown or Cincinnati?
Q: What are your current thoughts on the transfer portal as well as the NIL rule?
A: “It is much better than I thought it would be when it began.”
Q: I know your daughter Jenna is a huge Bengals fan. Do you wear orange and black on Sundays?
A: “No, I do not…”
Larry Huggins joins Matt’s Take
Anyone from the region who knows basketball knows who Larry Huggins is. While he is still heavily involved with camps and spends a lot of time around West Virginia basketball, Larry was a 4 year star athlete at The Ohio State University. Larry was a part of 3 NCAA Tournament appearances while playing for the Buckeyes between 1979 and 1983. Larry played along side many other Ohio State legends including Clark Kellogg and Tony Campbell. Before his college career at Ohio State, Larry lead his high school to a State Championship.
Q: What is your favorite memory as an Ohio State Buckeye?
A: “Hitting the game winner against Georgetown at the Alaskan Shootout.”
Q: What is your favorite memory from your High School playing days?
A: “Winning the State Title as a freshman with my older brother, Harry.”
Q: Do you still stay active with AAU and Camp events around the region?
A: “Our summer camp has grown over the years since I purchased it from my father in 2000. I love seeing all the coaches and players each summer!”
Q: How often do you make it to Morgantown to support your brother?
A: “I travel to Morgantown for 99% of his games and have developed great friendships with many people from West Virginia.”
Q: Who was the most competitive in your family growing up and does it still get competitive at family events between your siblings?
A: “Hard to say, all of us were driven to be successful by our parents, the will to win wasn’t really a choice for any of us. Now-a-days we look back and laugh at the times we had and enjoy being together more than being competitive.”
Q: What do you believe this year’s West Virginia team has improved on compared to last season’s roster?
A: “I have only had the opportunity to see this year’s team one time. Practice will start next week so ask me three weeks from now (Lol).”
Reach Matthew McAdow via email at [email protected]