What We Learned

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2021 NFL season, Week 4: What we learned from Bengals' win over Jaguars on Thursday night

Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2021 · 3-1-0
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 0-4-0

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  1. Burrow leads comeback. Joe Burrow showed a lot of poise in leading a come-from-behind win. He didn’t play badly in the first half, yet the Bengals had a zero on the scoreboard entering the break thanks to a missed field goal and a lot of possession time for the Jacksonville offense. But Burrow came out on fire in the second half, and led a scoring drive on all four of Cincinnati’s second-half possessions. He had rock-solid pass protection for the second week in a row; according to Next Gen Stats, his average time to throw (2.73 seconds) was a quarter-second longer than it was in Weeks 1-3. The result: 17 completions on 20 second-half attempts.
  2. Big strides for Lawrence. This was by far Trevor Lawrence’s best game for Jacksonville. Aside from curing the turnover bug that spoiled his first three outings, he frustrated the Bengals defense through the air and on the ground. He took more easy completions underneath coverage, was a perfect 7-for-7 on play-action throws, and threw the ball away when needed. He ran the ball more effectively than the box score will credit him with (36 yards), moving the chains with option keepers to keep drives alive. He also was operating without one of his top targets in WR D.J. Chark, who exited on the opening drive with an injury.
  3. Uzomah comes up huge. Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah played the half of his life. The former fifth-round pick didn’t catch a ball before halftime, but proved to be Jacksonville’s undoing with five catches for a career-high 95 yards and two touchdowns thereafter. Burrow hurt Jacksonville on play-action rollouts, including on Uzomah’s first touchdown, and the tight end did plenty of damage on the game-winning drive, as well: a first-down catch to the Jaguars 43, and a 25-yard reception on a second-and-14 play that put the Bengals in field-goal range.
  4. Seismic momentum shift. There’s no overstating how much momentum the Bengals were able to seize in just a few minutes on each side of halftime. Were it not for their fourth-down stop on their 1-yard line before the half, the Jaguars’ would-be 21-0 lead might’ve led to a different outcome. Instead, Cincinnati took a much more manageable 14-0 deficit into the locker room, then emerged for a quick TD drive to open the second half, followed by a three-and-out defensive series. By then, the home crowd had been rejuvenated, and the game slowly slipped away from Jacksonville, as the Bengals snapped a 20-game losing streak when trailing by 14 or more points, per NFL Research.
  5. Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson. The Jaguars coaching staff has gotten Jaguars running back James Robinson progressively more carries each game this season -- just five in Week 1, then 11, 15, and finally 18 on Thursday night. It’s no accident that the Jacksonville offense has, in turn, gotten progressively more efficient. Forcing Cincinnati to respect Robinson on Thursday night is the reason the option-keeper was open for Lawrence, not to mention some nice play-action passes. Robinson finished 18 for 78 on the ground with two touchdowns; he’ll need to be central to whatever progress the Jaguars make offensively going forward.


Next Gen stat of the night: With a 14-0 lead and possession on the Cincinnati 1-yard line near the end of the first half, the Jaguars’ win probability peaked at 86%.


NFL Research: Urban Meyer’s 0-4 start in Jacksonville marks a first for him as a head coach -- his longest losing streak at the college level was three games while at Florida.

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