Unbeaten Bengals still searching for true identity

The regular season is officially one week old, and the Cincinnati Bengals are leading the AFC North outright.

The Bengals took sole possession of the division after beating the Baltimore Ravens 34-23 at home on Thursday night. But even though the Bengals (2-0, 1-0 AFC North) are undefeated, their identity is a bit more confusing than their stat line.

The Bengals are two games into the season and remain somewhat of a mystery. They’ve shown flashes of brilliance, but they haven’t put it together in any sort of consistent fashion. Quarterback Andy Dalton looked as sharp as ever when throwing for four touchdowns in the first half against the Ravens, and then he led the offense to five straight punts starting at the 1:22 mark of the second quarter.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

At times the Bengals have looked like they possess the qualities to win the AFC North, and at other times they have looked like the team that went 7-9 last season.12

It’s not a complete surprise that the Bengals might take some time to find their identity. They spent the offseason ridding themselves of their longtime veterans and assembled one of the youngest rosters in the league in the process. There are young players on almost every unit on the team, and the Bengals are prepared for the growing pains associated with that movement.

They’ve also been rewarded by positive plays from rookies Jessie Bates, who had his first interception against the Ravens, and Sam Hubbard, who notched his first sack. It certainly didn’t help that the Bengals had lost center Billy Price in the first half, while running back Joe Mixon came in and out of the game due to a knee injury.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

There certainly is potential, even though the Bengals have spent the past two games treading the line between winning and losing. After going up by three touchdowns against the Ravens, they appeared to unravel momentarily, allowing a late touchdown in the first half and then letting the Ravens get within five points in the fourth quarter.

Yet, when it counted, the Bengals put together a field goal drive to extend the lead to eight and keep things just out of reach. Then Shawn Williams forced a fumble and Dre Kirkpatrick scooped it up to stop any potential Ravens comeback.