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.
Andy Dalton, Quarterback
Another week, another Andy Dalton appearance as a stud. It’s hard to ignore a guy with two big comeback performances in consecutive weeks. Dalton followed up his game-winning drive against Atlanta with an incredible second-half comeback against a very good Miami secondary. Dalton is being kept relatively clean and that leads to some of the best performances you will ever see from him. Storming back from a 17-0 deficit (with help from a dominant second-half defensive performance) is nothing to sneeze at.
Geno Atkins, Defensive Tackle
A two-sack performance has Geno Atkins tied with the Watt brothers for the league lead in sacks with six on the season. Like most of the team, Atkins struggled in the first half. He was getting some push but had issues releasing from blocks. Man did he turn it on in the second half. Atkins looked like one of the best players in the entire league for 30 minutes. His quickness and hand discipline was on full display as he made life miserable for Ryan Tannehill. He is on pace for 19 sacks this season, not saying he will get that many but it would break the record interior defenders.
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- Offensive Line – Once again the offensive line outperformed expectations. Bobby Hart is still the worst player on the field but the rest of the line is holding up without stud rookie center Billy Price
- Defensive Line – Sam Hubbard and Michael Johnson both scored touchdowns. Stonewalled in the first half, these guys came to life and dominated after halftime.
- Jessie Bates III, Safety – Another interception for the impact rookie. Bates is quickly becoming the game-changing playmaker on the back end that this defense has needed for so long.
Hardy Nickerson, Linebacker
Forced into action once again because of an injury that kept Preston Brown off the field for a few snaps, Hardy Nickerson again showed he should not be on the field. He is an average run defender that cannot cover running backs, which is sort of important in the modern NFL. He gave up a big touchdown to Kenyan Drake and was nowhere close to being able to defend that pass.
Bobby Hart, Offensive Tackle
Bobby Hart had another game where he was not so blatantly awful that I had to look away. He was pretty bad, however. Andy Dalton is getting the ball out so quickly and avoiding pressure so well that the Bengals are getting away with Hart being terrible. That won’t last much longer, probably not even into this weekend against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers
- Alex Redmond, Offensive Guard – Redmond played pretty well for his standards. That may not be saying much but he is improving. Penalties still plague him and will keep him in the Dud list until he can eliminate drive-killing penalties.