It has been the tale of two weeks for the Cincinnati Bengals.
With mixed performances, it makes some wonder who the real Bengals are.
The Bengals looked like a playoff-caliber team in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Then, in Week 8, against the New York Jets who started backup quarterback Mike White, they looked lost.
What is happening with the Bengals?
In short, they are a young team learning how to contend.
They are in a great position in a very competitive AFC North commanding the second-place position.
Here are the players who will facilitate the team’s success through the second half of the season.
Joe Burrow – Quarterback
Well, that was not hard to figure out.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the undisputed leader of this team.
It is hard to believe he is only in his second season.
His rookie season ended prematurely with injury so he really has not had a lot of NFL experience.
Burrow has 20 touchdown passes through eight games.
He has thrown nine interceptions.
The Bengals were wise to draft his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase because he has been the deep threat lacking for the Bengals in 2020.
Chase has caught seven of Burrow’s touchdown passes and has averaged 20.7 yards per reception so far this season.
Logan Wilson – Linebacker
The Bengals defense looked like a playoff team in their handling of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Leading the Bengals is second-year linebacker Logan Wilson out of Wyoming.
Wilson, the No. 65 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, has been described as a diamond in the rough.
Logan Wilson is the first player since at least 2000 to have 30 tackles and 3 INT in the first three weeks of the season. pic.twitter.com/Cl1fVf0t5T
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) September 29, 2021
He has four interceptions through eight games in 2021.
Wilson described his playmaking skills as follows:
“If you’re always running to the ball, you’re always going to have a chance to make plays on the ball. That’s something I’ve always prided myself on, and I will continue to do so.”
Trey Hendrickson – Defensive End
Trey Hendrickson joined the Bengals after starting his career with the New Orleans Saints.
He has 7.5 sacks, 11 solo tackles, and one forced fumble in 2021.
Trey Hendrickson is making his presence known in Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/Dc5qzIrjTe
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 29, 2021
A Young Team
Hendrickson is the oldest of the three players mentioned.
He is 26.
Head coach Zac Taylor is only 38 years old.
This is a franchise that is turning things around quicker than people expected.
Many knew Burrow would be successful but believed the Bengals would require a few years of building around him to be successful.
This is his second season so the Bengals are surpassing all expectations.
Despite a great win over the Ravens, this is still a young team that has to leap up the learning curve and manage expectations as their stock rises.
Week 9 Versus The Browns
The Bengals have beaten every AFC North opponent they have played thus far.
They meet the Cleveland Browns in Week 9 in Cincinnati seeking a sweep of the first meetings in 2021.
The Browns are also young and somewhat in disarray so it will be interesting to see which AFC North team based in Ohio is going to take a leadership role in the AFC North going into the second half of the season.