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 is becoming the lone bright spot for a struggling Bengals team. While he only had 4 catches for 71 yards against the Ravens, he was the only consistent offensive weapon for the team. Had the rest of the offense not been sputtering, Andy Dalton may have been able to find Boyd more. Dalton wasn’t bad but was missing throws and not seeing the field very well, Boyd should have had an even bigger day. He impresses week in and week out for the Bengals. The loss of A.J. Green has thrust him into the spotlight and he has been up to the task.
Shawn Williams, Safety
Cincinnati could not stop the Baltimore running game up front and that forced the secondary to make most of the stops. Fortunately, Williams was up to the task. Accruing 11 total tackles, tied for the team lead, Williams was all over the field preventing big plays from turning into huge plays. On top of being a force in the run game, he came up with a big-time interception off of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. The defense as a whole had another rough outing, but Williams is stepping up as a leader and consistent factor.
None – The team as a whole struggled and there isn’t another player I really want to label as a stud this week.
Joe Mixon, Running Back
I’m aware the offensive line wasn’t exactly blowing open holes for Mixon to run through against a talented Ravens front. However, the elite running backs can make something out of nothing and Mixon couldn’t do that on Sunday. There were times when he never stood a chance, but there were times he simply ran into the backs of his offensive linemen and called it a day. 12 carries for 14 yards is not acceptable for Mixon, I don’t care how bad the line played. There is no excuse for a running back of that caliber to average just over 1 yard per carry.
Hardy Nickerson, Linebacker
The injury to Preston Brown has forced Nickerson into a starting role at middle linebacker. He is, in no way, ready to be starting at the NFL level. Slow to react and physically slow chasing running backs and Jackson, he is a big reason for the Ravens big day on the ground. Nickerson was constantly seen taking poor angles and allowing Jackson to run wild. Yes, Jackson is a great athlete, but good angles to the football could have limited some of those big runs. The Bengals have the worst linebacking corps in the league and Nickerson is now the poster boy for the group.
Offensive Line – This group wasn’t the worst crew on the field, but that isn’t saying much. Pressure on Dalton and a lack of holes for Mixon were very apparent.
Defensive line – Geno Atkins can’t be the only pass rushing threat every week. There was little to no pressure on Jackson way too often from a group that is supposed to be laden with talent.