CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals did not flip in a masterpiece in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams earlier than a “Monday Evening Soccer” viewers, however did sufficient to attain a 19-16 victory for his or her first win of the 2023 NFL season.
The Bengals saved the Rams out of the top zone for the primary 58-plus minutes, with quarterback Joe Burrow and the offense doing simply sufficient to enrich the trouble on the opposite aspect. Here is what to find out about every group’s efficiency:
Monday evening was about whether or not the Bengals had the resilience required to be a championship contender.
In the event that they needed to keep away from beginning the season in a large gap, they wanted to beat the Rams with quarterback Joe Burrow enjoying on an injured proper calf. That is precisely what the Bengals did in opposition to the Rams, exhibiting the identical kind of resolve that has been on show within the group’s deep postseason runs the previous two seasons.
Regardless of a rocky begin that featured some boos from the house crowd, the Bengals’ offense acquired rolling late and Burrow did sufficient to maintain drives and rating factors. The protection, which was gashed at instances, pressured Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in key spots, pressured two huge turnovers and saved Los Angeles out of the top zone till the ultimate moments.
Profitable the AFC North for a 3rd straight 12 months might be a problem after the Bengals dropped two divisional video games to begin. However the prime-time win at Paycor Stadium — and Burrow’s improved well being — offers the Bengals hope that their lofty targets are attainable.
Describe the sport in two phrases: Ugly victory. It wasn’t fairly, however any group that begins 0-2 won’t apologize for getting its first victory of a season.
Purchase a breakout efficiency: After per week that featured him voicing displeasure in regards to the lack of motion, particularly deep balls, Ja’Marr Chase had his greatest recreation of the season, crossing 100 receiving yards within the third quarter after he hauled in a 43-yard move from Burrow. Earlier within the week, Chase and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan had a one-on-one dialog to speak in regards to the receiver’s position within the offense. The Bengals leaned on Chase to jump-start their season and he delivered.
Pivotal play: A dropping group can at all times profit from a little bit of luck. And that is precisely what the Bengals acquired early within the recreation when Rams broad receiver Tutu Atwell had a landing nullified after replay confirmed he stepped out of bounds. It saved the Bengals from going through a giant gap early and allowed the offense the time it wanted to discover a rhythm and rating a landing of its personal, which occurred within the third quarter when Joe Mixon scored on a 14-yard run.
QB breakdown: Early within the recreation, it appeared as if Burrow enjoying on the injured calf wasn’t definitely worth the threat. He acquired the ball out rapidly and did not push it downfield. However identical to in Week 2, he appeared to settle in through the second half. Burrow seemed extra comfy transferring round, whether or not it was on the designed rollout that arrange Chase’s huge reception or making an attempt to evade stress. It was the gutty efficiency the Bengals wanted to keep away from a dreaded 0-3 begin. — Ben Child
Subsequent recreation: at Titans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Los Angeles Rams
By means of two weeks with out Cooper Kupp, the Rams’ offense seemed like it will survive his stint on injured reserve with a hamstring damage. However in Cincinnati, the unit confirmed how a lot it was lacking its star receiver, failing to attain a landing till Tutu Atwell caught a 1-yard move from Matthew Stafford within the recreation’s 58th minute.
The Rams have been 1-for-11 on third down — the conversion approaching their remaining drive — and struggled to get right into a rhythm on offense all recreation. The protection impressed, particularly limiting Burrow early, however the offense didn’t take benefit. Rookie broad receiver Puka Nacua, who had 25 catches in his first two NFL video games, had 5 catches for 72 yards in opposition to the Bengals.
The Rams do not have very lengthy to appropriate issues as they play on the street in opposition to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon.
QB breakdown: Stafford accomplished 18 of 33 passes for 269 yards and a landing and was intercepted twice by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. Stafford’s longest move of the sport — a 46-yard completion to broad receiver Van Jefferson within the third quarter — was adopted by his second interception.
Troubling development: Earlier than their landing drive within the waning moments, the Rams ran eight performs within the crimson zone for minus-10 yards. Stafford was 1-of-7 passing within the crimson zone (0-of-4 concentrating on working again Kyren Williams) and was sacked twice. By means of Week 2, the Rams have been 5-for-6 within the crimson zone, the most effective mark within the NFL.
Promising development: In Week 2, Rams defensive sort out Aaron Donald solely recorded a QB hit in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers, however he and the protection put stress on Joe Burrow on Monday evening. Within the first half alone Donald had three quarterback pressures on Burrow, which is as many as he had within the Rams’ first two video games this season. On these performs, Burrow was 0-of-1 and sacked twice.
Eye-popping Subsequent Gen stat: Stafford was concentrating on rookie receiver Puka Nacua on his second interception. It was the forty first goal of the season for Nacua and the primary on which Stafford threw an interception. — Sarah Barshop
Subsequent recreation: at Colts (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
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