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.
Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver
Tyler Boyd continues to be the safety net for quarterback Andy Dalton. He is quickly becoming one of the best number two receivers in the entire league. Playing with a very weak offensive line, Dalton faced regular pressure against some decent Buccaneer pass rushers. When facing that pressure, Dalton was looking for Boyd because he knows he will be open. The trust between those two led to 9 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. Boyd gets better and better every week.
Joe Mixon, Running Back
Joe Mixon was nearly unstoppable in the first half against Tampa Bay. His offensive line was blocking just well enough for him to find the holes and explode through them. He was finding the holes well and if there wasn’t a hole, he’d bounce outside and start working his magic. Mixon made defenders look foolish once he got to the second level. The physicality he displayed was too much for the poor Buccaneers attempting to tackle him. The Tampa Bay defense tightened up and there wasn’t much room for him to run in the second half. He still managed to finish with 138 total yards and 2 touchdowns. The Bengals need to continue to feed this man the football.
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Jessie Bates III – Bates is in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year and adding a game-changing pick-six to his incredible first season.
The Bengals are in desperate need of an impact linebacker. That need showed up against the Buccaneers in a big way. Preston Brown would be a great middle linebacker in the 90’s or 2000’s but he is too big and heavy footed for the league today. Backup Hardy Nickerson seems to get worse every week and that didn’t change this week. Jordan Evans played the best out of the group but even his performance was average at the very best. The tackling is poor, they were regularly out of position, and continue to fail in coverage.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback
The coverage from the secondary was solid in the first half despite giving up some yardage. That coverage broke down in the second half and Kirkpatrick was a large part of that. He continues to be too slow to keep up with speedy receivers and is easily manhandled by physical guys. The Bengals defense is on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history as far as yardage goes and that is not surprising when looking at the play of their cornerbacks some weeks.
Pass Rushers – The Bengals had more pass rush against Tampa Bay than they’ve had but still not nearly as much as they should.