2020 Week 2 Analysis: Bengals @ Browns (By Ross Jacobs)
-The long and short of this game is that Joe Burrow is absolutely amazing already, but he doesn't have enough help from his team to win games yet. The Browns quickly built up a lead because the Bengals couldn't stop Nick Chubb, but Burrow kept trying to throw the Bengals back into it. The Browns defense was unloading on the Bengals line because they knew Burrow had to throw to catch up, and it was just enough pressure to hold off the rookie in the end.
-I cannot say enough good things about Burrow. He attempted an astounding 61 passes here, and his yards per attempt was pitiful, but I can say without a doubt that is not on him. Part of the problem is his offensive line is bad and he's constantly under pressure, but the other part is his wide receivers are bad and can't get any separation down the field. Just ask Baker Mayfield how hard it is to throw under those conditions. Burrow is going to be a star in this league. He is just an absolute assassin delivering perfectly placed passes to the open man. If the Bengals aren't complete idiots, and that's distinctly likely considering their history, they will be competing very quickly. Burrow is good enough on his own that he can take an average team and make them contenders. Unfortunately this isn't an average team yet. They suck.
-The Cincy run defense in particular isn't good. They were gashed constantly by one play in particular. The Browns figured out around the 3rd quarter or so that the Bengals couldn't stop this power play to the left, and they ran it over and over. Target the Cincinnati run defense in fantasy.
Granted I said last week that the Browns have a pretty nice run game themselves so I don't want to be too hard on Cincinnati here. Those big Browns o-linemen can really move people off the ball, and Chubb looks fantastic. For that matter so does Kareem Hunt. I said if I were the Browns I would build this offense around running those two and play action off the run, and you saw a big move towards that this week.
-I know OBJ finally made a good play on a double move, but he was still pretty much a non-factor the rest of the game. I still saw him loafing around, not giving good effort, and generally just not able to separate from coverage. He's a liability and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately that one good play is likely to keep the coaches hopeful he can turn it around even longer.
-Speaking of receivers that can't separate, the Bengals are terrible. AJ Green is the only one doing anything, and he's definitely not as good as he used to be. Tyler Boyd has become a ghost somehow, and rookie Tee Higgins is a complete waste of a draft pick. The Bengals have got to get Burrow some real targets this next off-season.
-My opinion of these two teams hasn't changed. The Browns aren't a complete disaster just yet, although the potential is there for the wheels to fall off. The Bengals are terrible other than Burrow, but that guy is so good he gives them some hope each week. They should win a couple games this year if the defense can get a couple turnovers in the right place. You'd rather be in Cincinnati with Burrow than Washington with Haskins or New York with Jones or Darnold that's for sure.
-Like I said Burrow is a sneaky good fantasy option. He's not ready to give high end numbers every week, but you could do worse for a backup and he will have some good solid games like this.
-Joe Mixon looks like the smoothest RB in the league right now. He makes some moves to get out of trouble that very few other guys can do. Unfortunately he's got nowhere to run right now, and the defense is so bad that the team can't really get a lead to sit on. Mixon is getting good work in the passing game now with Burrow, but we may still be a year away from true greatness with him. He's still the unquestioned lead back though, and that's worth something these days.