SEA-CIN Grades: Hot-handed Andy Dalton continues to shine
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cincinnati Bengals’ 27-24 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
– It was a rare afternoon of coverage breakdowns and missed tackles for the Seahawks secondary (seven total missed tackles for the starters, including one negated by penalty) as they gave up a number of big plays to Cincinnati. Wide receiver Marvin Jones (-0.3) was left wide-open streaking through the secondary early in the first quarter before a communication breakdown left tight end Tyler Eifert (+3.8) open for a touchdown on the very next play. Throw in a negated 72-yard touchdown that featured a missed open-field tackle by free safety Earl Thomas (+0.3), and it was a first quarter to forget for the Legion of Boom.
– Among the culprits in the secondary were CB Cary Williams (-4.1) and SS Kam Chancellor (-4.6). Not only was Williams targeted seven times, surrendering five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, but he was also flagged for two downfield pass interference penalties which could have made matters worse. Meanwhile, Chancellor was on the receiving end of 11 targets, surrendering nine catches for 102 yards. He was a part of a miscommunication resulting in the first-quarter Eifert touchdown catch, and he also was isolated on WR Mohamed Sanu for a 25-yard gain on a slant.
– The offense was sparked by rookie running back Thomas Rawls, who finished with 169 yards on 23 carries, good for his third consecutive positive grade (+2.5) filling in for the injured Marshawn Lynch. He ran through and around the Bengals’ defense on his way to a 69-yard touchdown run, but even on the additional 22 carries, Rawls did a nice job of finding the open hole in Seattle’s zone blocking scheme.
OLB K.J. Wright (+3.2)
QB Russell Wilson (+3.2)
OG J.R. Sweezy (+3.2)
RB Thomas Rawls (+2.5)
DE Frank Clark (+1.8)
– It was another outstanding outing for QB Andy Dalton (+4.2), as he continued to throw accurately down the field. Whether hitting WR A.J. Green (+2.6) in-stride on the negated touchdown, or putting the ball in a great spot on Eifert’s sliding catch late in the fourth quarter, Dalton made big-time throws all afternoon to finish with another strong grade (+4.2).
– Cincinnati’s pass rush was a two-man show, as DT Geno Atkins had his way with the interior of Seattle’s offensive line, registering one sack and six hurries on his way to another overall positive grade (+3.3) and placing him second for the season (+21.2) at the position behind only St. Louis DT Aaron Donald (+24.9). DE Carlos Dunlap also came up big, while getting the better of right tackle Garry Gilliam (-2.0) throughout the afternoon with two sacks, one hit, and two hurries for his fourth positive grade (+2.6) in five starts. This is Dunlap’s best five-week stretch to start a season since 2011.
– As for Eifert, he remains our No. 2 overall tight end (+8.3) after another huge performance (+3.8). He caught both touchdowns up the seam, and his sliding catch late in the fourth quarter set the Bengals up for their game-tying field goal. Eifert’s receiving grade (+7.0) trails only Rob Gronkowski (+8.9) through five weeks of the season.
QB Andy Dalton (+4.2)
TE Tyler Eifert (+3.8)
DT Geno Atkins (+3.3)
DE Carlos Dunlap (+2.6)
WR A.J. Green (+2.6)