1. It’s no longer an option to dismiss the Bengals. Now 5-0, their 17-point comeback was a true team effort. Adam Jones kickstarted the comeback with a big return. Their pass rush and coverage finally woke up after a relatively quiet day. The offensive line blew open holes for Giovani Bernard when it mattered, and Andy Dalton calmly directed one of the biggest comebacks of his career with plenty of help from his friends.
2. Dalton had some fantastic vertical passes for the third straight game, although most were early. A red-zone interception in the second quarter typified a stagnant middle half of the game for the entire Bengals offense. Just like in the Baltimore win, Dalton showed a newfound ability to shake off bad moments and finish the games strong with 344 yards and two scores. He made better decisions on when to run than Russell Wilson.
3. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks‘ passing game went absent after halftime. The Seahawks had only three first downs in their final six drives, including two chances in overtime. Wilson deserves some of the blame. He made a clearly poor decision to run to end one overtime drive, and often held the ball too long. The Seahawks‘ offensive line played much better overall.
4. The strangest part of the game: The Seahawks didn’t miss Marshawn Lynch that much. Thomas Rawls ran up the gut on Cincinnati during an opening TD drive, and broke free for a 69-yard touchdown in the second half. He finished with 169 yards on a day when the Seahawks‘ offensive line played much better until a few late penalties.
5. After A.J. Green scored an early long touchdown overturned by penalty, the Seahawks had Richard Sherman shadow him the rest of the day. It was a fun matchup to watch, with Green occasionally out-muscling Sherman for the ball on his way to six catches and 78 yards.
6. Dalton is a lot different this year, but Tyler Eifert is just as big a factor in the Bengals‘ offensive improvement. The Bengals don’t win without Eifert exposing the Seahawks up the seams for eight catches, 90 yards and a score.
7. Now 2-3, Seattle’s margin for error to win the NFC West already is getting dangerously thin. They have had some rough fourth quarters lately starting with the Super Bowl, through this season’s games against St. Louis, Green Bay, and Detroit.