Bengals capitalize; Tejay Antone chimes in


Matthew McAdow Contributing columnist

Matthew McAdow Contributing columnist


Cincinnati pulled out a huge victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday to end the five-game winning streak the Browns had on Burrow and this young offense with the final score being 23-10. Cincinnati was missing many key players including Boyd, Higgins and Hurst. Despite lacking their usual receivers, Cincinnati had a magnificent game plan, and the defense was a terror for Watson and the Browns for all four quarters.

The victory brought the Bengals record to 9-4 and they remain tied with the Ravens for first in the AFC North, as the Ravens held on to beat the Steelers (the one time we root for the Steelers, they still mess it up, right?). Let’s take a look at the Bengals and Ravens remaining schedules to end the season:

Cincinnati is at the Buccaneers, at the Patriots and host the Bills and Ravens.

Baltimore is at the Browns, and hosts the Falcons, Steelers and Bengals.

Positives

· Ja’Marr Chase was phenomenal. Despite extra coverage all night due to members of the trio being injured, he found room to make plays and reeled in 10 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. While I am in awe each week that he takes the field, this one was different. Never take No. 1 for granted, Cincinnati.

· The return of Joe Mixon – He took advantage of his 14 carries and racked up 96 yards. The duo of Mixon and Perine will be fun to watch the last few games of the season.

· Zac Taylor called a fantastic game yet again. The flea flicker and his creativeness all night on offense helped this injury-plagued team grind out a hard-fought victory. It has been quite the turn-around from a play-calling stand point.

· The “next man up” mentality has been a motto with this team all year long. Again, Cincinnati had unlikely snap counts from many individuals, and everyone stepped up. Irwin, Taylor and Wilcox played more snaps than they are used to and all of them looked more than comfortable.

· Logan Wilson was an animal — 17 total tackles (no, that was not a typo) for Mr. Wyoming. He is a huge part of this defense and was all over the field.

· Cam Taylor-Britt had many pass break-ups and was crucial on many third and fourth downs. When watching the game, you would never recognize that Cam is only 23 years young.

· Jessie Bates III brought in another interception during a crucial drive by the Browns in the second half. Bates has had a fairly quiet start to the year, so it was good to see a confidence boosting pick.

· D.J. Reader… Enough said.

Negatives

· Injuries are beginning to plague the roster as Cincinnati is missing many key players including Awuzie (out for the year), Boyd, Higgins, Hurst and many others. On top of these key injuries, after the game many fans found out that Trey Hendrickson suffered a broken wrist in the second half and will miss some time going forward. Cincinnati struggles getting to the opposing quarterback already and this is horrible news to receive as the last quarter stretch is happening.

· Penalties on punt returns were an issue yet again as the flags were flying on blatant holds on special teams. This is hurting field advantage and is beginning to become a reoccurring issue.

· The Ravens beat the Steelers to remain in first in the AFC North (they hold the tie-breaker). With our tough schedule, we really need someone to pull out a victory over Baltimore.

Tejay Antone

joins Matt’s Take

Tejay “Captain Hook” Antone kindly joined Matt’s Take this week for a question-and-answer. Tejay is the Reds beloved 29-year-old pitcher out of Oklahoma City. Antone has been with the Reds since 2020 and is known for his dynamic breaking ball. He has unfortunately been dealing with his second Tommy John surgery, but he is looking to make a huge impact with the organization this season. Antone holds an impressive 2.48 ERA through 69 innings pitched in his two years in Cincinnati. I can’t wait to watch number 70 take the mound this season as this team needs Tejay to be successful within the division. I expect to be watching many clips that Rob Friedman posts this season showing the epic breaking ball that Antone has in his bag.

Q: How is the recovery process going?

A: “Things are going well. Starting to ramp things back up to game speed and getting ready for spring training.”

Q: What are you currently working on during the offseason and how are things progressing?

A: “This off season I’ve been working on my lower half being more rotational and less linear. I was having some correlating upper half inefficiencies because my lower half wasn’t working as well as it could.”

Q: What has been your favorite moment as a Red?

A: “Making the playoffs in 2020. There’s nothing better than winning and doing it on that level is exhilarating.”

Q: If you could watch a game with any former or current player, who would you choose?

A: “Barry Bonds. I would choose to pitch against him (lol).”

Q: What does this Reds team need to improve on to be contending in the near future?

A: “Age. It’s just a matter of time until we all start clicking. We have some stud veterans leading the way and teaching the rest of us the way.”

Q: What is your own personal goal for the 2023 season?

A: “To make the 2023 all-star team and be healthy the whole year.”

Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.

Matthew McAdow Contributing columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/12/web1_McAdow-Matthew-mug-2.jpgMatthew McAdow Contributing columnist