The Cincinnati Bengals made an immense statement last night against their AFC North division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, and it's already drawing huge historical comparisons.
The Bengals managed to defeat the Ravens 34-23, improving their record to 2-0 and giving them a lead in the AFC North that they'll now hang on to until at least Week 3.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton scored four first half touchdowns, with three going to wide receiver A.J. Green, in a 28-7 first half lead which they just managed to defend after a strong rally by Baltimore in the second half.
Bengals safety Shawn Williams forced Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to fumble the ball with just under three minutes to play, which was recovered by Dre Kirkpatrick.
This effectively allowed Cincinnati to seal the game with a field goal after Baltimore had reduced their lead in the second half to just five points at one stage, in a game that should have been a blowout.
As a result of the Bengals' amazing first half play, especially that of Dalton, many historical comparisons of this team have been stated, but many are also tempering their expectations.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted on the night that: "The Bengals are the first team to score at least 34 points in each of their first two games since the 2013 Broncos, who went on to reach Super Bowl XLVIII."
ESPN also added in a later graphic that four other teams have scored at least 34 points in each of their first two games in the last ten seasons, with three of them going to the Super Bowl.
NFL Research noted too that: "Andy Dalton is the first player since Matt Ryan (Week 17, 2016 vs New Orleans Saints) to throw four touchdowns in the first half. Ryan won the NFL’s MVP award that season."
Yet, despite the Super Bowl and MVP comparisons, many people on Twitter are tempering their expectations.
Dalton ended up completing 24-of-42 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns in the 34-23 win, while Green caught 5-of-9 targets for 69 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bengals will now have a mini bye week in the form of a 10-day break before battling against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.
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