Every week will bring win or losses. Those wins and losses will all have stand out players and players that underwhelm. Studs and Duds will highlight two players from each of those categories after every game. If there is a particularly bad game, there may be an extra dud and likewise for good games and the studs.
Joe Mixon, Running Back
Joe Mixon was the obvious stud for the Bengals in week one. Going off for 149 total yards and a touchdown on the ground, he took over at points. Mixon would have had an even bigger day if Cincinnati had not been playing from behind for a majority of the game. Even when the Bengals weren’t running the ball, they got him involved in the passing game and he dominated there too. The speed, power, and decisiveness were on full display most of the game. The holes weren’t always very big – if they were there at all – but Mixon created on his own when he had to. I have a feeling I will be writing about this man quite a bit this season.
Clayton Fejedelem, Safety
I would be remiss if I did not mention Clayton Fejedelem as a stud for the Bengals in week one. After starting safety Shawn Williams was ejected for an illegal hit on Andrew Luck, Fejedelem stepped up. He could be found flying around the field either making tackles or just generally effecting plays after he was forced into the game. With that being said, the biggest reason he makes the list this week is for the amazing scoop and score fumble to seal the game. Luck and the Colts were driving down the field looking to score the game-winning touchdown, linebacker Hardy Nickerson and Fejedelem had different plans. Luck completed a 15-yard pass to tight end Jack Doyle, who was met by Nickerson and Fejedelem who combined to strip the ball. Fejedelem took the fumble 83 yards to the house to seal a 34-23 win for the Bengals.
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Bobby Hart, Offensive Tackle
2018 free agent signee right tackle Bobby Hart was downright awful against Indianapolis. A lot of the pressures on quarterback Andy Dalton came from the right side of the line. It really didn’t matter who was lined up across from him, Hart struggled for the most part. Former Bengal Margus Hunt seemed to give him the most trouble. Hunt is quite an athlete but nothing special as a football player, Hart made him look like an All-Pro. The power Hunt plays with completely overwhelmed him and ran right over him at least once. As a Bengals fan and a football fan, I cannot take another week of watching Hart try to play offensive tackle.
Jordan Evans, Linebacker
Jordan Evans didn’t have a terrible game by any means. Andrew Luck and the Colts receivers worked short throws over the middle of the field all game. The linebacker play was a huge reason for the success of those throws. The linebacking corp as a whole is to blame for that but Evans gets the spotlight for one particular play. Tight end Eric Ebron toasted Evans for a 26-yard touchdown. He was really not even close to Ebron making it an easy throw for Luck. Yes, Ebron is an elite athlete, but there is no excuse for him being that wide open in the end zone. Evans and the rest of the linebackers must improve their coverage play as the season goes on.