Bengals look to keep momentum going against Jaguars

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) dives past Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert (93) for a touchdown during the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Caption
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) dives past Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert (93) for a touchdown during the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Credit: Gene J. Puskar

Credit: Gene J. Puskar

CINCINNATI -- Tyler Boyd believes the Cincinnati Bengals sent a message to the entire league with their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Now the Bengals (2-1) are carrying the energy of a big road AFC North victory into Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) at Paul Brown Stadium.

“I think the good thing about that win was not only did the Steelers feel that, everybody in the country felt it because the last plays of the game for them, they gave up,” Boyd said. “You could see it. They had three drops in a row. For a team to see that, is giving us more power, giving us the antidote to know how good we are.”

“It brings so much energy to the team,” he added. “It just brings the confidence level so much higher because at the end of the day, it’s hard to win in Pittsburgh. The fans go crazy. They don’t care how it gets done, as long as it gets done. So, to just go in there and being able to bully them and hit them in the mouth definitely sent the message because every team knows how Pittsburgh is, how good their defense is. Just know the Pittsburgh tradition, so just for us to go out there and do what we did, every team is raising their eyes right now, trying to figure out, ‘Wow, they (the Bengals) are a team now.”

Although Thursday’s matchup on paper isn’t all that exciting – the Jaguars have lost 18 consecutive games dating back to last season – it does come with some hype being the Thursday Night Football game and a battle between the last two No. 1 draft picks. Joe Burrow will be trying to outdo Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who he beat in the 2019 national championship with LSU.

There also is some hype around the inaugural Ring of Honor class -- Paul Brown, Anthony Munoz, Ken Riley and Ken Anderson -- which will be inducted during halftime of Thursday’s game.

While the Bengals are riding high from their win Sunday, the Jaguars are searching for their first win under Urban Meyer. The former Ohio State University coach has already been under fire for how he’s handling his team, and he came into the job surrounded by questions of whether his college coaching success can translate to the NFL level.

Former Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard, who was recruited by Meyer out of Moeller High School and played for him from 2014-2017, said Meyer’s culture is one that should make any team successful at any level. In many ways, it’s the same way the Bengals want to play.

“The guys that are out on the field are going to be playing extremely hard,” Hubbard said. “His culture he’s always had at every place, he’s been is ‘4.6 (seconds) A to B,’ which is the length of a play, Point A to Point B. Maximum effort. If you don’t play hard, if you don’t finish the play, you’re not going to be out on the field. He always says you can fix the mistakes after, but you can’t fix not playing hard or being aggressive. That’s how they’ve been playing. That’s how we’ll have to match it. Do the same thing, which we plan on doing every week. They’re going to play hard to the very end.”

Hubbard owes a bit of his own personal success to Meyer. The fourth-year defensive end was committed in high school to playing lacrosse for Notre Dame, but one day during his junior year, Meyer showed up to gym class while Hubbard was playing dodgeball and his high school football coach pointed him out as a potential recruit. Hubbard was a safety then.

Meyer took a look at him, watched his film and eventually convinced him to commit for football. The Buckeyes originally tried him out at linebacker and tight end before settling on him as a defensive end. He’s played there ever since.

“I think I would have made it to the football field some way or the other, but credit to him for finding me there,” Hubbard said with a laugh at the question of how a dodgeball game changed his career path.

Hubbard and the defensive line have set the tone for an aggressive defense this season, which now will seek to cause problems for Lawrence and the Jaguars.

Running back Joe Mixon said Sunday’s win could be a good momentum builder for the rest of the season, but the Bengals can’t get too emotional about any one game. Thursday is another opportunity to show what they are capable of achieving.

“To us, that was what we were supposed to do,” Mixon said. “We weren’t surprised, we weren’t extra hyped up and we went out there and got the dub. We not going to get too high, we not going to get to low after a loss so we plan on getting a lot more wins and we plan on going out there and handling our business as we should and we going to keep on being professional about it and keep on stacking them.”

THURSDAY’S GAME

Jaguars at Bengals, 8:20 p.m., NFL, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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