Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals, regular season, week 4, Thursday, September 30, 2021

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Staging: The Bengals host the Jacksonville Jaguars this week at Paul Brown Stadium in a nationwide Thursday night televised soccer game. Cincinnati comes off a 24-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and will look to build on that momentum throughout the short week.

“I’m just proud of the team,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “It’s something we needed. It’s just a small step in the road to the rest of the season.

“We expect to be able to win division games on the road to achieve everything that we are talking about internally as a team, so that was something necessary.”

The Bengals controlled the game against Pittsburgh from start to finish on both sides of the ball. Offensively, QB Joe Burrow completed 77.8% of his passes, threw three touchdowns against an INT and posted a passer rating of 122.9. Burrow averages 9.6 yards per attempt in the air, while HB Joe Mixon averages 5.0 yards per rushing rush. Burrow was also not sacked all afternoon, shattering an NFL record streak of 75 straight games in which the Steelers recorded a sack.

“The offensive line has played really well,” said Burrow. “You have to give them credit. They get better every week. On Ja’Marr’s (Chase) second touchdown it was my fifth read. I said on the O line that was their touchdown. said, ‘I was able to get to my fifth reading, and that’s all thanks to you guys.’

Defensively, the Bengals put constant pressure on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, sacking him four times and hitting him three more. LB Logan Wilson won Taylor’s ball after the game, having twice fought off Roethlisberger and led the team in tackles (14). The offense turned Wilson’s two INTs into 14 points.

Wilson now has three INTs this season, tied for most in the NFL entering Week 4 and most in one season by a Bengals LB since Odell Thurman (five) in 2005.

“I guess I can’t say if Logan is getting enough national attention or not, but I know his value for this team,” Taylor said. “And the team knows his value. He is slowly coming up and making a great game after a great game. He’s going to be a great player in this league for a long time, and we’re really happy to have him.”

Rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase, another young Bengals star, continued his own strong start to the season, capturing two Burrow touchdowns. The first touchdown was a 34-yard run down the left sideline just before half-time to give Cincinnati a 14-7 lead.

Chase now has four touchdowns this season, tied for second in the NFL behind Cooper Kupp of the Rams. He’s only the ninth rookie in NFL history to catch a touchdown in each of his first three career games, and the third to catch at least 25-yard touchdowns in their first three games ( Donte Stallworth in 2002, Billy Howton in 1952).

This week, Cincinnati takes on Jacksonville in a story-driven game. The contest features the final two No.1 picks – Burrow and Trevor Lawrence of Jacksonville – marking the second time in NFL history that a rookie QB chosen No.1 faces a QB who was picked No.1’s last year. The only other case came in 2019, when Arizona rookie Kyler Murray beat Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.

The game will also feature a kind of homecoming for Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who notably served as Ohio State University head coach from 2012-18 but is also a University of Cincinnati alumnus. While at Ohio State, Meyer coached five players currently on the Bengals’ active roster – Burrow (played at OSU from 2015 to 2017, before moving to LSU), CB Eli Apple, S Vonn Bell, DE Sam Hubbard and OT Isaiah Prince.

“I’m excited to see him and excited to play against him,” Burrow said of his former coach. “We have a great relationship. Anytime you see a friend before a game it’s always fun to talk to people you haven’t seen in a while. But it’s also professional football, and you have to win. So I’m happy to do both of those things. “

Jacksonville enters Thursday’s game 0-3, having lost 31-19 to Arizona last week.


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