QB Christian Hackenberg - Cincinnati Bengals
|6-4, 223||Born: 2-14-1995||College: Penn St.||Drafted: Round 2, pick 2016 |
Photo: Noah K. Murray, US Presswire
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Week 2: vs San Francisco 49ers
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FBG says: Neutral matchup. In his first game under new coach Zac Taylor, Andy Dalton brought encouraging returns. He threw for 418 yards and 2 touchdowns, succeeding against the Seattle defense in several ways. For most of the game, Dalton stuck to short, quick-hitting throws to mitigate the Bengals' shaky line. He and slot specialist Tyler Boyd carried over their bond from 2018, connecting on 8 of their 11 targets, mostly over the middle. But when he looked at John Ross' way deep, the results were fantastic. On the day, Ross shattered his career achievements with 7 receptions, 158 yards, and 2 scores. He routinely won with his speed and open-field dynamism as the Bengals surprisingly schemed the ball to him throughout the game. Ross certainly stormed onto the NFL scene Sunday, though that kind of usage may not become a weekly thing. On a day in which he threw 51 passes, Dalton spread the ball to 8 different targets, and Ross did drop a few throws. For the Bengals to have any deep-ball success going forward, they'll need to keep Dalton upright. Cordy Glenn could return to the left tackle spot this weekend or perhaps shuffle inside to help the run game. In any event, when he does return, he'll serve as the team's best all-around blocker by a mile.
The San Francisco pass defense entered 2019 in search of a playmaking identity. And after recording just 2 interceptions through all of 2018 - the lowest total in league history - they capitalized on Jameis Winston's erratic arm to beat that total on opening day. They even returned two for touchdowns, including the game-sealer with 2:10 to play. The coverage unit looked strong all game, with Richard Sherman and company keeping Mike Evans (28 yards on 5 targets), Chris Godwin (53 on 6), and O.J. Howard (32 on 5) from making much impact. The key factor may have been the retooled pass rush, as new additions Dee Ford and Nick Bosa practically lived in the Tampa Bay backfield. If Week 1 was any indicator, the 49ers are prepared to take a huge step forward from last year's permissive unit.
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