Grades for Bengals-Colts
Here are the top takeaways from Thursday’s Bengals-Colts game, including the highest-graded players for each team:
— Anyone calling for QB A.J. McCarron to replace Andy Dalton as starter in Cincinnati had a bad day watching him make that suggestion look laughable in this game. McCarron did have a couple of nice passes, including a very nice slant to Greg Little into a very tight window, but outside of that he was a near total disaster, missing players in all directions and drawing pressure upon himself — being charged for a sack again. McCarron has now had a very good game sandwiched between two bad ones — so Maybe he really is the perfect Andy Dalton successor.
— OT Jake Fisher was coming off a game in which he notched a -8.5 grade on just 43 snaps against the Bears. That is terrible. While he wasn’t exactly good this week, a -1.8 grade on 57 snaps is a hell of a step in the right direction. Fisher surrendered a sack and three hurries, as well as a false start penalty in this game. It’s a good thing for the Bengals that they can afford to work on him long-term.
— CB Chris Lewis-Harris has played 22 regular season snaps since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He has clung onto a roster spot thanks to his special teams play, but he started at cornerback in this game and played 48 snaps, earning a +3.0 grade, most of which came in coverage. He was thrown at nine times, allowing just three catches for 37 yards while picking one pass off and deflecting away another in the end zone, leading to a pick. Colts QBs had a passer rating of 7.4 targeting him in this game.
Highest graded players:
CB Chris Lewis-Harris (+3.0)
DE Chris Carter (+2.3)
DE Margus Hunt (+2.0)
TE Matt Lengel (+1.8)
HB James Wilder Jr. (+1.8)
— Time to give up on OLB Bjoern Werner? The former first-round pick was left in with the backups for 27 snaps of action and earned a -1.8 grade, failing to generate much pressure at all on his own (he had a hit and one additional hurry, but one was unblocked and the other was a clean up play). If you can’t get it done against the players playing deep into preseason Game 4, it’s probably time to move on.
— Josh Chapman had himself a game on the D-line. Playing mostly nose tackle, Chapman earned a +3.7 grade, routinely blowing up Bengals run plays and leading the team in defensive stops. DL Arthur’s injury will open up regular-season snaps for Chapman.
— WR Duron Carter finally showed a glimpse of the talent we’ve all been told he has for so long. He was thrown at eight times, catching five passes for 85 yards including a fantastic catch and run that went for 42 yards and made multiple Bengals coverage defenders look foolish.
Highest graded players:
NT Josh Chapman (+3.7)
Montori Hughes (+2.3)
SS Clayton Geathers (+2.1)
DL Earl Okine (+1.6)
CB Sheldon Price (+1.6)