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 is being severely underutilized by the Bengals. Combining strength and speed, Mixon was set to take over this game against the Steelers. The suddenly pass-happy Bengals got away from giving the ball to Mixon for some odd reason though. He was gashing the Pittsburgh defense, running through and around defenders. Even though they were not playing from behind, Cincinnati decided to start throwing more and running less as the game went on. With the score still 14-14, Mixon was taken off the field on multiple second and third downs in favor of rookie Mark Walton. While he did score what should have been the winning touchdown; I believe the game may have had a much different outcome if Mixon had been fed the ball and more of a focal point in the offense.
Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver
Tyler Boyd is quickly becoming one of the most clutch players on the entire team. When the team needs a critical first down, quarterback Andy Dalton has a ton of faith in Boyd to make the play. With 7 catches going for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns, this was another big performance for the rising wide receiver. Boyd is maturing into one of the best number two wide receivers in the NFL. He made the Steelers secondary look silly on more than one occasion, including creating some crazy separation on his first touchdown. Maybe if Boyd had been a touch more involved, the game may have turned out differently.
- Andy Dalton, Quarterback- Dalton was getting beat up the whole game so some of his bad throws are excused. He really didn’t play extremely well but was not holding the team back in any way.
The Defensive Line
At one point there was a graphic put up by CBS that show how many hurries, hits, and sacks the Bengals had on Ben Roethlisberger; goose eggs across the board. The run defense was not great but not out of this world terrible. The pass rush was out of this world terrible. Geno Atkins struggled and faced double teams on the inside. There was not one player that stepped up in one on one situations. At one point Roethlisberger escaped the pocket, got near the sideline, turned around and saw Cincinnati defensive linemen WALKING towards him and proceeded to reset his feet and take his time launching a deep ball. That is pathetic and inexcusable for a team that is supposed to be deep and talented along the defensive front.
The Offensive Line
Andy Dalton was under a lot of pressure for a large part of the game. Right tackle Bobby Hart actually played decent against an ascending pass rusher in T.J. Watt. Right guard Alex Redmond moved people in the run game but was dominated as a pass protector. Center Trey Hopkins showed us all why we cannot wait until rookie Billy Price is back in the lineup. Even the rock-solid duo of Cordy Glenn and Clint Boling weren’t so solid against a so-so Steelers pass rush. Up to this point, this group had outplayed expectations but came back down to earth in a huge rivalry game.
- The Linebackers- Preston Brown was dreadful in coverage, Burfict is not yet in playing shape, and Nick Vigil suffered an injury.