Panthers @ Bengals
Final Score: Bengals 42, Panthers 21
Writer: Mario Adamo Jr. (@marioadamojr on Twitter, /u/dotcaim on Reddit)
The fight of the felines!
The first half was all Bengals. They outscored the Panthers 35-0, outgained them by nearly 300 yards (311 to 32), and had 20 more first downs (21-1). The domination started from the very first drive as Joe Mixon broke off 35 yards from a screen and later found the end zone. After that, three straight three-and-outs as neither team could find momentum. That would be the last time the Bengals would struggle on offense this half. The next three Bengals drives would all end the same, with a Mixon touchdown. The next following drive the Panthers would get their only first down of the first half, and it would come from an Illegal Contact defensive penalty. PJ Walker tried his best to play Hero ball down early in the first half, but his boldness resulted in a pair of interceptions. The Panthers’ biggest gain of the first half was a 5-yard catch by Raheem Blacksheer.
Baker Mayfield came in to start the third and helped the Panthers finally get on the board. Though the drive was mostly carried by a 66-yard kick return by Blackshear, Mayfield found Tommy Tremble on 4th and 7 to help them avoid the shutout. The Bengals, and more specifically Mixon, weren’t done yet. The Bengals drove down the field and Mixon scored his fifth(!) touchdown of the day, becoming the first player in Bengals’ history to score five touchdowns in one game. After each team punted Mayfield again scored, finding Terrace Marshall for the touchdown. The only smudge on this Bengals performance was a missed 48-yard field goal by Evam McPherson. Mayfield then padded his garbage time stats some more by finding Blackshear for a 2-yard touchdown.
Baker Mayfield: 14/20, 155 Yards, 2 TD
PJ Walker: 3/10, 9 Yards, 2 INT | 1 Carry, 6 Yards
RIP PJ Walker hype train, 2022-2022. After two solid back-to-back performances of 15 and 16 points, it all came crashing down today for Walker. It wasn’t just his fault, the entire Panthers offense seemed inept in the first half, but too many hero ball throws got Walker benched at halftime.
Baker Mayfield started the third quarter when the game was all but cooked. Although it was just garbage time Mayfield looked solid. The team was set up in great field position starting at Cincinnati’s 37-yard line after a 66-yard kick return, but he was able to move the team those 37 yards into the end zone. With the short week for the Panthers, they host the Falcons on Thursday, I expect Mayfield to carry this momentum into the starting job next week.
D’Onta Foreman: 7 Carries, 23 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, -2 Yards
Spencer Brown: 3 Carries, 16 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 10 Yards
Raheem Blackshear: 5 Carries, 13 Yards, TD | 4 Targets, 4 Receptions, 40 Yards
Much like the Panthers’ QB situation, the starter was lackluster and the backup got the touchdowns. A week after putting up three touchdowns D’Onta Foreman and the rest of the Panthers struggled mightily today. With only seven carries it was nearly impossible to establish a rhythm. The Panthers were down 35-0 at halftime, so they needed to throw the ball to catch up. When a Panthers running back finally found the end zone, it was none other than Raheem Blackshear. Before today Blackshear had -0.4 fantasy points on the season. Watching this game I have no idea why Blackshear was so involved, Foreman didn’t look hurt. My best guess is with Chuba Hubbard they didn’t want to run Foreman too much into the ground. Spencer Brown also saw some action in this game and played a similar role as last week, a practice squad guy who filled in for a few insignificant plays.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Terrace Marshall: 6 Targets, 3 Receptions, 53 Yards, TD
DJ Moore: 6 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards
Laviska Shenault Jr.: 2 Carries, 6 Yards | 1 Target
Shi Smith: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 20 Yards
Tommy Tremble: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 11 Yards, TD, 1 Fumble (Lost)
Giovanni Ricci: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards
Sorry DJ Moore managers, the dream is dead. The days when Moore was a top fantasy are over. From Weeks 7-8 Moore tallied 47.1 points, second only behind DeAndre Hopkins. His 4.4 points are something Moore managers are more familiar with this season. Moore didn’t get his first target until the Panthers’ sixth drive, and it was an interception. When Mayfield entered the game there was a chance to hit an open more down the left side, but Mayfield instead threw the ball to someone else in the middle of the field. Although we don’t know who the starter will be on Thursday, my hunch is it’ll be Mayfield starting, and that’s worrisome.
Terrace Marshall showed last week was more than just a flash in the pan. Marshall led all pass catchers with three receptions to go along with his 53 yards and touchdown. Marshall was only targeted once by Walker but was targeted five times by Mayfield. I don’t trust any pass catcher in the offense going forward, but Marshall might be the one I trust if I did.
Tommy Tremble was the other Panther to catch a touchdown. Walker’s first interception was targeting Tremble. Besides his touchdown catch, Tremble’s other reception was for an uneventful three yards on the Panthers’ sixth drive.
Laviska Shenault had two carried out of the wildcat. Shi Smith had one catch that nearly matched DJ Moore’s yard total. Giovanni Ricci caught his one target on the Panthers’ ninth drive.
Joe Burrow: 22/28, 206 Yards, TD | 4 Carries, 9 Yards, TD
Brandon Allen: 3/3, 22 Yards | 3 Carries, -1 Yards
Joe Burrow’ed his way into the endzone on a QB sneak. Besides that, Burrow had 206 passing yards and a passing touchdown while only played three-quarters of football. That speaks to the level of dominance put on by the Bengals. This was a great bounce-back game after losing to the division-rival Browns last week.
Brandon Allen played about three minutes of the third quarter and the entre fourth quarter. His first play was a QB run. He had some solid throws but was clearly not asked to do much.
Joe Mixon: 22 Carries, 153 Yards, 4 TD | 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 58 Yards, TD
Samaje Perine: 6 Carries, 51 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 3 Yards
This was the MixON game all Joe Mixon managers have been waiting for. Mixon now holds the Bengals record for most touchdowns in a game. He had big gains including a 35-yard screen, 29-rush, 20-yard rush, 17-yard rush, and a 12-yard rush. All that on top of his five(!) touchdown performance. Entering today Mixon had three touchdowns. The Panthers had no answer for Mixon and the Bengals took advantage of that.
Most of Samaje Perine’s workload came right after a big Mixon play or the entire fourth quarter, better known as garbage time. He’s still the backup and the handcuff you want in case anything were to happen to Mixon. Credit where it’s due, Perine did have a 29-rush in the fourth quarter.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tee Higgins: 8 Targets, 7 Receptions, 60 Yards
Tyler Boyd: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 44 Yards
Hayden Hurst: 5 Targets, 5 Receptions, 35 Yards
Trent Taylor: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 14 Yards | 3 Carries, 18 Yards
Trenton Irwin: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 14 Yards | 1 Carry, 11 Yards
Devin Asiasi: 1 Target
As far as the Bengals’ offensive players, this game was all Mixon. Tee Higgins led all pass-catchers in targets and receptions. Tyler Boyd had a near touchdown on the Bengals’ third drive. The play was challenged and ultimately stood, but even Fox Sports Rules Analyst Dean Blandino thought it should have been a touchdown.
Of all the pass-catchers Hayden Hurst impressed me the most. He brought in all of his targets and fought hard for yards after them. If you don’t have a top TE Hurst is someone I like, especially while Chase is hurt.
The garbage time wasn’t just limited to Brandon Allen getting some snaps, Trent Taylor, Trenton Irwin, and Devin Asiasi all saw some action. Taylor ran a couple of end-arounds and Irwin nearly had a touchdown that he was ruled out of bounds for (the play also had a defensive penalty which is why you won’t see it as a target in his stats), and Asiasi had a garbage time target early on the Bengals’ eighth drive.