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Other Week 8 Game Recaps

Week 8 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 10, Los Angeles Rams 24

What you need to know

Cincinnati Bengals

-The Bengals moved the ball well between the 20s but there weren’t a lot of big plays and the offense struggled in the red zone, turning it over on downs twice in the red zone.

-Joe Mixon had a strong first half with a number of 10+ yard runs but the running game disappeared in the second half.

-Auden Tate was Dalton’s go-to target in the fourth quarter with 10 targets.

-The Bengals featured Tyler Eifert who set season-highs in almost every category, perhaps to pump up his trade value before the deadline.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams exploited a ‘get well’ matchup for a second straight week, defeating the Bengals soundly. Todd Gurley sparsely played in the second half of the comfortable win as Darrell Henderson accrued 13 touches, largely in relief. Cooper Kupp putt on a route-running and yards-after-the-catch clinic to the tune of 220 yards as Brandin Cooks exited early with a concussion and Robert Woods played almost a running back role than a wide receiver one. Gerald Everett came back to earth after a strong Week 7 performance and Josh Reynolds was the benefactor of Cooks’ absence with 73 yards and a touchdown on a hearty eight targets.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 52 - 329 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0 (1 targets)
Dalton put up big numbers due to throwing 52 times but left too many plays on the field. He had a strong first half, completing 14-of-15 passes early with the only incompletion coming on a slightly overthrown deep ball to Tyler Boyd. His lone touchdown was an easy 1-yard toss to a wide open Joe Mixon. On a couple of occasions, Dalton held the ball too long and took costly sacks. The Bengals drove down to the Rams 30-yard line just before halftime and were in position for a field goal that would have cut the lead to four going into the break but Dalton took a 10-yard sack on third down that pushed the team out of range. Dalton narrowly missed out on a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He threw it three times inside the 10-yard line with seven minutes left and a chance to cut the lead to one score. One was dropped by Auden Tate and Stanley Morgan was stopped a couple yards shy of the goal line on a 4th-down slant. He had a chance to add a garbage time touchdown in the final minute but Auden Tate again dropped a well-thrown ball in the end zone.

RB Joe Mixon, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 66 - 0, Rec: 4 - 11 - 1 (4 targets)
Mixon only averaged 3.9 yards per carry but even that was an improvement compared to recent performances. Despite playing from behind, the Bengals were also able to get Mixon a season-high 21 touches. He had some success in the first half with a number of chunk gains that have been rare for the Bengals offense this season. He found some room off of left tackle on a 13-yard run the second play of the game. On a second-quarter touchdown drive, Mixon touched it seven times and gashed the Rams right up the middle for runs of 11 and 12 yards. He converted with a tough run up the middle on a fourth down to keep the drive alive and eventually finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown catch on a pretty play design that the Bengals used successfully against Buffalo. The Bengals motioned a receiver across, causing the defense to vacate the right side of the field and leaving Mixon all alone for an easy catch. After a strong first half with no negative carries and a few chunk Gaines, the second half Bengals rushing offense reverted to form. Mixon lost yards on two of first first three carries out of halftime and didn’t gain more than four yards on any run.

RB Giovani Bernard, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)
Bernard handled the majority of the snaps in the second half and played 41% overall for the game. However, he is not racking up the big receiving numbers in these games the Bengals are trailing like he did in past seasons because he is usually being tasked with staying in and blocking. This was especially true against the Rams as the Bengals were rightfully worried about Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers bringing interior pressure. Bernard had just two touches in the fourth quarter. He did flash in limited opportunities, however. He spelled Mixon for a single play in the Bengals lone touchdown drive and ripped off a 25-yard run, bouncing off of multiple tackle attempts to get the Bengals into the red zone.

WR Tyler Boyd, 75 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 6 - 65 - 0 (9 targets)
Boyd made a beautiful 22-yard catch on a back shoulder fade on a 4th-and-2 despite very good coverage, showing the strong hands that are his best asset. He had a step on a deep ball down the middle of the field but Dalton threw it five yards too far or it might have been a long touchdown. He made an 11-yard grab against tight coverage over the middle. Boyd made another 11-yard grab on a well designed rub route where he came wide open from the slot. Boyd came through in the clutch again with an 18-yard grab on 4th-and-13 to set the Bengals up inside the Rams 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Boyd had a touchdown chance on a garbage time target near the goal line but the timing appeared to be off between him and Dalton and the ball was thrown high and in front of him.

WR Alex Erickson, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 0 (7 targets)
Erickson’s snaps were down slightly (60%) as the Bengals used more 12-personnel. He did well with his limited opportunities, showing sure hands and strong run after the catch skills. He took a wide receiver screen for 11 yards. He did most of his damage on one garbage time 52-yard catch in the final minute of the game. Jalen Ramsey looked almost disinterested as he just let Erickson run right by him down the sideline.

WR Auden Tate, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 65 - 0 (13 targets)
Tate rarely left the field, playing 81 of 83 snaps on the day. Once again, he was the biggest beneficiary of garbage time. Tate was targeted 10 times in the fourth quarter. He made a spectacular grab for 27 yards on a double move down the left sideline. He was grabbed as he ran by the cornerback (drawing a flag), who had been caught flat-footed which caused the ball to be overthrown but he was still able to go get it with a diving, fingertip grab at full extension. Tate had a key drop in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter that would have brought the Bengals within one score. He had both hands on a well-place high ball in the front corner of the end zone but couldn’t hold on through contact and the Bengals eventually turned it over on downs. Tate had back-to-back end zone targets in the final seconds of the game. It was initially ruled that he had caught a 9-yard touchdown but on review it was overturned because the ball moved as he hit the ground.

TE Tyler Eifert, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 74 - 0 (9 targets)
Eifert’s season-high in snaps prior to this game was 38. He played 60 snaps against the Rams. The increased usage led to season highs in targets, catches, and receiving yards. Eifert was able to win consistently against single coverage. He made a season-long 27-yard gab over the middle on a post route. He lowered his shoulder to pick up a few extra yards at the end of the play. It is fair to wonder if the Bengals featured Eifert just to try to pump up his trade value before the deadline. He is rumored to be on the block with the Bengals asking for a 3rd-round pick.

Los Angeles Rams

QB Jared Goff, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 31 - 372 - 2 TD / 0 INT
Goff played a second straight clean game, avoiding turnovers and notching a needed win over a struggling (Cincinnati) opponent. Goff regularly saw open receivers, many times Cooper Kupp, and benefitted from substantial yards after the catch to boost his gaudy stat line of 372 yards on just 31 attempts. Brandin Cooks was lost to a concussion early in the game with Josh Reynolds elevating into the starting lineup and posted a strong game in relief. Goff delivered accurate passes to Cooper Kupp on a reverse throw-back design for a 65-yard touchdown and hit a smaller window to Kupp later with a perfect deep ball. Goff’s clean stat line did benefit from three potential interceptions not being converted by the Bengals as Goff was late on a deep out on one occasion and threw into traffic over the middle of the field on another of note. Goff after a promising schedule over the second half of the season after their Week 9 bye.

RB Darrell Henderson, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 49 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Henderson mixed in with Todd Gurley in the first half but saw most of his playing time and touches in the second half of the home win over Cincinnati. Henderson had a nice cut for 15 yards on his biggest gain and broke a tackle on another occasion for additional yardage. Henderson notably had a third-down drop as a receiver.

RB Todd Gurley, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 44 - 1 (1 targets)
Gurley was the clear lead back early in the game against Cincinnati but barely saw the field later as the Rams salted away the easy home win and ceded time to Darrell Henderson. Gurley curiously saw only one target as a non-factor in the passing game. Gurley has received one target or fewer in more than half his games this season. Gurley’s stat line was bolstered by a 20+ yard run in the closing minute of the first half on a relative give-up play on third-and-10. On his most impactful drive Gurley converted third-and-short in the red zone and capped the drive with a goal-line touchdown to the edge of the defense.

WR Cooper Kupp, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 220 - 1 (10 targets)
Kupp logged his fifth 100-yard game of the season with a new career-high 220 yards. Kupp found wide-open zones of the defense regularly to fuel yards-after-the-catch for massive chunks of yardage. Among Kupp’s highlights included adjusting to a throw behind him on a third down, a trick play 65-yard touchdown, and converting a well-covered deep ball target from Jared Goff. Kupp added a rare drop in the game to thwart an even bigger performance. As a centerpiece in the Rams passing game, Kupp is on pace for more than 1,500 yards this season and more than 110 receptions with a conducive schedule after the Rams’ Week 9 bye.

WR Robert Woods, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (2 targets)
Woods saw a mere two targets even with Brandin Cooks missing most of the game with a concussion against the Bengals. Woods caught his lone big-play opportunity, a play-action flat route for 30 yards into the open field. However, Woods was used also like a running back for a chunk of the game for the second time in three games, accruing four rushing attempts without much fanfare. Josh Reynolds benefited from Cooks’ absence and Cooper Kupp logged a monster game as Woods lacked involvement.

WR Josh Reynolds, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 73 - 1 (8 targets)
Reynolds benefited from an early-game Brandin Cooks concussion exit for his best game of the season. Reynolds saw a hearty eight targets, including his highlight seam touchdown. Reynolds also had a yards-after-catch-infused reception called back and a third-down drop to prevent his stat line from ballooning to more than 100 yards on the day. Reynolds also corralled a small window reception down the seam for more than 25 yards and was stuffed on a reverse. The Week 9 bye allowed additional time for Brandin Cooks to be cleared for a return to play from concussion, but Reynolds stands to benefit if Cooks is not ready for Week 10 against the Steelers.

WR Brandin Cooks, 3 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Cooks sustained a concussion on an early first-quarter slant route. He dropped the ball post-hit for an incompletion. He left the field for evaluation and did not return. Cooks has additional time to be cleared with the Rams’ Week 9 bye up next.

TE Gerald Everett, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets)
Everett took a step back in offensive involvement for the Rams, who featured a wide receiver-centric passing game in the home win over Cincinnati. Everett did not see a target until the late second quarter when he hauled in an in-cut reception of note, his lone moment of relevance. This was Everett first game with fewer than five targets since Week 3.