All the Bengals did in Sunday’s season-opener was stink up their home field, skidding into a ditch early on and never steering out of it. They were shut out at home, 20-0, by a division rival, the Ravens, who had issues of their own coming into this season and struggled badly to score themselves for most of the first half.
It’s possible that the Bengals just got off to an ugly start, or had a lot of kinks to work out, or had bad luck, or caught a Ravens team on a good roll.
The signs were there last season when the Bengals stumbled around, reverting to their old undisciplined ways, struggled badly without the suspended Vontaze Burfict early, and fell apart at midseason on their way to a 6-9-1 record. A.J. Green missed most of the second half of the year. Andy Dalton regressed. Their run of five straight playoff berths ended.
The Rams finally righted things in 1999, winning six straight and 10 of 12 against San Francisco (still, the 49ers owned a 25-16-1 advantage while the Rams were in St. Louis). Now that the Rams are back in Los Angeles, the 49ers have won three straight in the series. While the Rams were 4-12 last season, both of 2-14 San Francisco’s wins came at the Rams’ expense.
The 49ers (0-2) have scored just 12 points on four field goals this year. The Rams (1-1), conversely, have scored 66 points behind an opportunistic defense and efficient play from second-year quarterback Jared Goff while Todd Gurley once again looks like a Pro Bowl-caliber running back.
The Rams should win Thursday, but their last visit to Levi’s Stadium did not go well as the Niners pulled off a 28-0 upset in last year’s opener. Carlos Hyde, who has 169 rushing yards so far, ran for 88 and two scores in the 2016 opener.
Jacksonville �� the home team at London’s Wembley Stadium �� has the offensive weapons to give the Ravens fits; it’s just a matter of whether or not quarterback Blake Bortles can take care of the ball.