The highly anticipated week 9 Sunday Night Football matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was chalked up to be a prime time classic, and it somewhat delivered. Buffalo came into week 9 looking to build off a big Thursday Night Football win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that caused many NFL fans to believe the Bills were back on track. Josh Allen has had issues with turnovers again this season, forcing the ball too much, and overextending his abilities leading to frustration throughout the offense. These trends were seen yet again in Paycor Stadium as the Bills struggled to consistently put points on the board after their initial 7 play 85 yard drive that would end in a Irv Smith Jr. touchdown. The Bengals defense came to play, sacking Allen once but recording seven QB hits in the process. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow continues to illustrate that his calf is no longer an issue after going 31/44 for 348 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals came out of the gates swinging and controlled the tempo of the game for the majority of the night. With their two turnovers and three drives ending in punts, the 24-18 final score does not reflect how one sided this game was.
Buffalo continues to play a cat and mouse game of figuring out their identity on offense. One week they commit to establishing the run with James Cook and Latavius Murray, then the next they need Josh Allen to overextend himself by trying to fit balls into spaces that are not there. Allen is a phenomenal quarterback, but with how one dimensional their offense has become unstable by only finding touchdown production from Stefon Diggs. Diggs finished with six receptions for 86 yards and a TD, a stat line NFL fans have grown accustomed to seeing. Another stat line I have grown accustomed to seeing is that of Gabe Davis’s zero receptions for zero yards. For being a WR2 Davis is arguably the biggest boom or bust skill position player in the NFL. Yes he had a three touchdown game in 2022, but his lack of consistency continues to bleed through as Buffalo continues to lose to good teams and away from Orchard Park where they are now 1-3 on the road this season. The Bills now move to 5-4 and will travel to Denver to face a 3-5 Broncos squad who will be fresh off their bye week. I will not be surprised to see the Bills have a bounce back win against Denver and then lose in week 11 to the New York Jets, the pattern of the Bills past five weeks.
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals had a dream start to their week 9 bout as they scored touchdowns on their opening two drives. The Bengals have struggled to get their tight ends involved in the first eight weeks of the season, but this strategy seemed to be a focal point for their offense tonight having three tight ends combine for 10 receptions, 101 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns. Joe Mixon had a modest night with 14 carries for 37 yards but was able to find paydirt in the first half to bring his rushing TD total to three on the season. Burrow continues to show that he is only getting stronger as the season progresses and his team's four game win streak is a stark example to highlight his run of form. If the Bengals defense can continue to hold teams to under 100 rushing and 300 passing yards a game, they should have no problem making a deep playoff run if players can stay healthy. The Bengals now move to 5-3 and will now look to host a confident C.J. Stroud and the Texans, Stroud is coming off a career day of 471 yards passing and 5 touchdowns. Burrow and the Bengals now sit at 5-3 with the Steelers and Browns who are all looking up at the Baltimore Ravens who continue to prove they are the team to beat in the AFC after dismantling the Seattle Seahawks today 37-3.