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Week 1 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 20, Seattle Seahawks 21


What you need to know

Cincinnati Bengals

-Andy Dalton had a career-high 418 passing yards, looking decisive and in control of the new offense.

-Joe Mixon suffered an ankle injury early in the second half that knocked him out of the game but doesn’t appear serious.

-John Ross had a career game, catching a pair of long touchdowns.

-Three Bengals WRs played 79% of the snaps or more: Ross, Tyler Boyd, and Damion Willis.

-Tyler Eifert looked good and played roughly half of the snaps, finishing third on the team in target behind Ross and Boyd.

Seattle Seahawks

On the Seahawks side of the ball, there really is not much to say. This really is a textbook case of them doing “just enough to win”, without doing much at all. The only category in which they were actually better than the Bengals, was the final score. Russell Wilson looked uncharacteristically cautious under pressure, while the rest of the team did enough – which, again, was very, very little – to squeak out a victory, despite the Bengals dominating the time of possession. Positives to be gleaned were: the running game got going … eventually; and the rookie wideout, D.K. Metcalf, was not only healthy but a trusted part of the offense throughout the game. Overall, it was a very disappointing effort. Clearly, Wilson and the Seahawks have got some work to do.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 35 - 51 - 418 - 2 TD / 0 INT
The 418 passing yards were a career high for Dalton. In fact, the Bengals had gone 13 straight seasons with Marvin Lewis as the head coach without a 400-yard passing game. In Zac Taylor’s debut, the Bengals were much more pass heavy than in past seasons. Dalton threw 51 times despite Cincinnati never trailing by more than four points. Dalton had some missteps. He missed low on what should have been an easy short completion to John Ross, under threw a deep ball to an open Tyler Boyd, and had the rain soaked ball slip out of his hand for a costly fumble in the red zone. He also had a few passes batted at the line. Despite the few miscues, Dalton was excellent overall. He was in full command of the new offense, getting the ball out quickly and on target. He read the defense well and understood where the vulnerabil-ities were. Dalton also had a few highlight-reel worthy throws. The most impressive came on a 55-yard touchdown pass to John Ross in the final seconds of the first half. Dalton threw it over 50 yards in the air, just over the head of the safety, and hit Ross in stride for the long score. He also showed nice touch on a 33-yard flea-flicker touch-down pass to Ross, dropping the ball in behind the corner and in front of the safety.

RB Giovani Bernard, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0, Rec: 2 - 42 - 0 (3 targets)
Prior to Joe Mixon getting hurt in the second half, Bernard did not touch the ball at all. Once Mixon was sidelined, Bernard became heavily involved. His first drive of the game, he touched the ball on four straight plays. In all, he garnered nine touches in the second half. Bernard’s production was feast or famine on the day. He took a screen for a 35-yard gain. It looked like he might be tripped up for no gain but was able to scoot away from a chasing defensive lineman and sneak through some traffic down the sideline for the long completion. He also bounced off a tackle attempt to gain 11 yards on a running play off of left tackle. Bernard also was dropped for a loss or no gain three times, including a 4th-and-1 play where he wasn’t able to keep his feet after first contact and was dropped short of the first down by an arm tackle. Bernard was also stacked up for no gain for a fourth time down near the goal line but Seattle elected to accept the holding penalty. It was an okay day for Bernard. His playmaking ability was on display but so too were his limitations in the every down role.

RB Joe Mixon, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)
The Bengals had a screen setup well for Mixon but Jadeveon Clowney was able to leap and tip the pass away. Dalton went right back to the same play the next down but Seattle was all over it, dropping Mixon for a 3-yard loss. There was no room to run for Mixon early. His first quarter carries went for 1, -1, 3, and 2 yards. He looked dangerous in the open field on a 10-yard reception on a swing route. After the quiet first half, Mixon rolled his ankle on the third play of the second half and never returned. He was spotted on the sideline late in the game walking gingerly on the an-kle. Early reports indicate the injury looks more mild than originally feared and Mixon may even be available for Week 2.

WR Tyler Boyd, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 8 - 60 - 0 (11 targets)
Boyd led the team in targets but a poorly thrown deep ball from Dalton that could have gone for a long touchdown spoiled the potential for a big fantasy day. While he didn’t rack up big yardage totals, Boyd did make plenty of plays in the middle of the field. He made three catches on the opening drive, the highlight coming on a 14-yard grab on 3rd-and-long with a defender draped all over him. Boyd’s strong, reliable hands were on display, catching the ball away from his body and hauling it in despite the defender getting a hand in. He made a 13-yard grab over the middle that may have been his most impressive of the day. The ball was deflected by a defender at the line and Boyd was able to adjust quickly and reach behind him to make the grab. Dalton and Boyd hooked up on a pair of 6-yard gains on similar plays that were probably RPOs. Dalton lined up in shotgun, faked the quick run handoff to suck the linebacker up, and then hit Boyd running the slant into the space opened up by the linebacker. On the missed big-play connection, Boyd lined up in the slot and then ran right behind the defensive line, getting lost in the mass of bodies before cutting upfield on a wheel route down the seam. He was wide open but Dalton threw the pass too much to the inside and short, which turned a potential long touchdown into an incompletion. Boyd played 79% of the snaps, which was good for just third best amongst the wide receivers.

WR John Ross, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 158 - 2 (12 targets)
To say it was a career day for Ross would be an understatement. In two previous seasons, he managed just 210 receiving yards total and nearly doubled that on Sunday with his 158-yard performance. Despite the eye-popping numbers, there were plays Ross left on the field. On the opening drive, Ross stumbled out of his break on a deep post route and had the ball bounce off of his chest, nearly being intercept-ed. A couple plays later, he couldn’t quite scoop out a low throw by Dalton. Under previous coaching staffs, Ross might not have received any more opportunities after the slow start but Taylor stuck with Ross. He played 82% of the snaps and was the first read on many plays throughout the game. Ross benefitted from the Seahawks paying extra attention to Boyd. He made an early 20-yard grab out of a five wide receiver formation in which he was the middle receiver of the three lined up to the right. Boyd, lined up inside of Ross, ran straight down the middle and drew two defenders which opened up the middle for Ross to cut into the opening behind him for the long gain. Ross had a 6-yard catch called back due to illegal formation. Ross scored a 33-yard touchdown on a flea-flicker. Ross ran a wheel route down the right sideline and the trickery allowed him to get behind the defender. He caught the ball inside the 10-yard line and made a nice cut after the catch to elude a defender near the goal line and get into the end zone. Ross had an awful drop just before the half but Dalton went right back to him the next play and connected on a 55-yard touchdown with less than 20 seconds left in the first half. Ross ran a deep post and had some separation from the cornerback. The safety tried to undercut the pass but misjudged it, which allowed it to sail over his head and right into the arms of Ross. Ross grabbed a 24-yard pass on an out route, showing off his ability to run full speed and then stop and cut quickly. Ross has struggled with his confidence, so the huge Week 1 could be a springboard to big things.

WR Damion Willis, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (5 targets)
While John Ross made the big plays and stole all of the headlines, Willis actually led the wide receivers in snaps (90%). He caught a 3rd-down slant for six yards. Willis made a 17-yard grab, sitting down in the soft spot of the Seattle zone for an easy grab. He drew a 15-yards pass interference penalty on a key 4th-quarter play. It was a relatively quiet debut for the undrafted rookie but he looks like he is going to be a big part of the offense for as long as A.J. Green is out.

TE Tyler Eifert, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 27 - 0 (6 targets)
As expected, Eifert was far from an every down player, logging just 49% of the snaps. Despite the situational usage, he still managed to finish third on the team in both targets and receptions. When Eifert is on the field, he will be one of Dalton’s favorite options and should be able to see at least a handful of targets most weeks even in the part-time role. The majority of Eifert’s snaps came on passing downs and he was usually on the field for third downs and in the red zone. Eifert made his cut too shallow and came up a yard short of the sticks on 3rd-and-5. He lined up out wide to grab a 7-yard reception on a key 3rd-and-4, establishing inside position against the safety and holding on through contact. Eifert also made a sweet hands catch for a 5-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 to keep the chains moving. There weren’t any big plays but it was a positive debut for Eifert, who looked as healthy as he has been in years.

TE C.J. Uzomah, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets)
Despite rotating with Tyler Eifert and Drew Sample, Uzomah was able to make a solid impact. He made a nice knee-level grab while on the run to pick up 33 yards down the seam. Uzomah picked up 15 yards on a TE-screen to the left and then gain 9 yards on a screen pass to the right. Dalton tried to hit Uzomah on the screen a third time but a defensive lineman was able to get his hand up to deflect the pass.


Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 20 - 196 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0
It was a disappointing day for Wilson, who somehow always seems to salvage the day statistically, which he did with two TDs on the day. He was sacked twice early on and continued to go down throughout the game. He played more cautiously than we are used to seeing – in fact, he took more risks in the pre-season – which seemed to fuel the Bengals fire, as they were after him the whole game. The Seahawks had no long, sustained drives, and so the best of Wilson can be summed up on a couple of long passing plays. First to Metcalf, who easily caught the ball on a medium slant pattern, and later to Lockett in final frame, who somehow was wide open as usual, for his first and only catch of the day, for a 44 yard score. In between, Wilson kept the ball close, throwing to the running backs, and showed immense trust in the rookie, D.K. Metcalf, feeding the ball to him at will on short patterns, and even targeting him in the end zone. Near the end of the game, Wilson ran the ball himself, showing that he can be a threat after all, but on his last play of the game, a bizarre QB keeper play on 3rd & 17 resulted in him getting hit hard from behind.

RB Chris Carson, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 46 - 1, Rec: 6 - 35 - 1 (7 targets)
Carson’s game was a real mixed bag. On one hand, there was no consistency in the ground game, which is evident by the final numbers. But… there were times when Carson looked almost unstoppable. He showed his speed on a jet sweep in the first half, catching the Bengals off guard and picking up ten yards before they could blink. He also proved to be an important passing outlet, which was not a part of his resume last season. A couple of highlight worthy plays include both TDs, first powering through easily and untouched on a goal line carry; then he showed his speed yet again, as he caught a short pass and not only eluded the defense, but simply bounced off a defender to keep running for the score. In the second half. Perhaps his best play was a short third down conversion late in the game. Carson expertly found the hole on a short yardage play, broke loose for a few more yards, and THEN, dragged a defender at least another five yards, ending with his longest run, just over 20 yards. One blemish is the fumble he committed in the second half, which dashed what little bit of momentum the Seahawks had mustered.

RB Rashaad Penny, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0
Penny neither disappointed nor shone, posting the roughly the same YPC as starter Chris Carson. Problem is, Penny only had about 25% of the touches as compared to Carson, and significantly, none of his were receptions. Penny did have one standout play, however, a 20 yard gain which was called back on holding. But, he did a very good job on the play of working around his blockers, showing both patience and poise. It definitely looked like an improvement over his work last year.

WR DK Metcalf, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 89 - 0 (6 targets)
Metcalf mad a splash in his NFL debut. He did not get on the score sheet, but did become Russell Wilson favourite target, and deservedly so. Metcalf looked not only dependable, but also showed off some acrobatics, catching the ball in traffic and on the run for a big gain of 25, which set up a touchdown the following play. Perhaps most importantly, he made a lot his catches look very easy. Metcalf also contributed by drawing a pass interference call in the end zone. Oh, and he was also called for offensive pass interference. Win some, lose some.

WR Tyler Lockett, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 44 - 1 (2 targets)
Lockett was Mr. Invisible until the fourth quarter, when he finally found himself inside the ten, and wide open on play action pass play. He caught the deep ball over the middle at the 7 yard line and ran in easily. Without that catch, one had to wonder if he was going to see the ball at all.

TE Nick Vannett, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets)
Both of Vannett’s receptions were garbage plays -- medium gains on third and long, both as pure outlet passes when Wilson ran out of options.

TE Will Dissly, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Dissly looked good on his one reception, a nice seam catch for first down. But neither tight end was targeted enough to warrant fantasy consideration.