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The Waterboy's Diary - By Bart Wilson Archives for 2023-09

Struggle in the Jungle

I guess we’re staying in Ohio again this week with the slow start to the Cincinnati Bengals season. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the Bengals when you look at their first two games. It all started when they were completely shutout by the Browns in week 1, but maybe that was because of the weather. The very next week they lost to the Ravens at home by 3 points. This week they played a familiar face in the Rams for Monday Night Football. It wasn’t a pretty game, but the Bengals survived with a 19-16 first win of the season.


Joe Burrow’s performance after three weeks has been underwhelming to say the least. It did look like he was able to make some big plays in the second half of the Rams game, but it didn’t seem like he’s completely 100% with that calf injury. Burrow’s QB rating after 3 games is 66.2 which is a result of having only 67 completions out of 122 pass attempts. Not the best numbers from a quarterback who just signed the largest contract in NFL history.


The wide receiver play between Chase, Higgins and Boyd has also fallen flat a bit. Things did seem to heat up with Chase making some big catches against the Rams. Higgins has struggled so far and left the game Monday with cramps. I think that worried fans a bit. If you lose Higgins, then you no longer have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. Boyd really hasn’t done much in 3 games to really wow anyone either. Another offensive player struggling is Joe Mixon who’s averaging 4 yards per carry and has rushed for 180 yards off 40 carries. Not the best numbers from a top tier back.


As for the defense, they have been able to keep the team in games, except the Browns game, until the very last play. It really seems like this is an offensive issue that starts with Burrow being able to back to his old playing style. What I saw on Monday was a guy uncomfortable in the pocket who had very little mobility to make plays happen. If that can get fixed the Bengals should get back on track and be contenders for another playoff run. That’s if Burrows can get healthy.

Is the Browns Season Over?

Is the Browns season over when we are only two games into the season? Monday night was not the kind of game Browns fans wanted to see. Running back Nick Chubb was taken off the field by cart due to a gruesome knee injury. Chubb will most likely be gone for the rest of the season and this could be extremely consequential to the Browns season. Then there’s Deshaun Watson. He threw a pick six, fumbled on a play that caused another pick six, committed two personal fouls, and appeared to push a ref. This is certainly concerning given how much the Browns gave away to get him.


Chubb over his 6-year career has recorded 6,511 rushing yards on 1,238 carries and found the endzone 48 times. To say that he wasn’t the team’s work horse is an understatement. He also had the third highest average rushing yards per carry with 5.3 yards in the Super Bowl era. By losing Chubb the Browns don’t have anyone to really fall back on.


To fill the void in the running back position will be second year player Jerome Ford who beat out Demetric Felton to make the active roster. Ford has just carried the ball 39 times for 154 yards from last season to now. He’ll have to step up and fill a big pair of shoes to help with the Browns run game. Speaking of young players, the Browns also traded for Pierre Strong Jr. who played for the Patriots last season. Strong Jr. has only carried the ball 12 times for 101 yards. Inexperience in the backfield will hinder the Browns running game.


On top of that, Deshaun Watson has struggled in the first two games. He’s thrown two picks, has been sacked 9 times, fumbled once, and has a 55.1% completion percentage. Then you have Dawand Jones taking over for Jack Conklin in the right tackle position due to suffering a season ending injury last week. To add more full to the fire, wide receiver Amari Cooper has only caught the ball 10 times for 127 yards. While Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Njoku, David Bell, and rookie Cedric Tillman have been non-existent.


By losing Chubb on Monday the Browns offense will be put through the ringer for the rest of the season. A lot of younger players will need to step up but that is a lot to ask when the team relied so much on Chubb to do everything. This may be a throw away season like last season and the season before that. I just don’t see this team winning many games off the heels of the offense. If anything, the Browns will only win because the defense was able to make big plays. Other than that, it could be a complete wash of a season for the Browns.




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