Bengals move forward without TE Eifert

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) is removed on a cart after suffering an injury against the Atlanta Falcons.Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

RB Giovani Bernard: "Some people just don't deserve that to happen. He's gone through a lot."

The offense hummed nicely as the Cincinnati Bengals racked up points and yardage and left Atlanta with a 37-36 win thanks to A.J. Green's dramatic catch in the right corner of the end zone.

All of Cincinnati's potency with its offense resulted in the third game with at least 30 points, culminating in Green's twisting 13-yard TD catch.

It also was done with a pall on the team because tight end Tyler Eifert broke his ankle catching a pass from Andy Dalton in the third quarter. Eifert is expected to undergo surgery and will likely be sidelined for the rest of the season.

"It's tough," running back Giovani Bernard said. "We play this sport and some people just don't deserve that to happen. He's gone through a lot," Bernard said. "It is just the emotions of it. There is going to be those highs and those lows.

"This is one of those games that we had to dig deep. Each and every person had to dig deep from starters to backups to coaches to whoever it was. Everybody really had to dig deep this game, and I'm super happy to be a part of this team and a part of this win. I really feel that this was a special win for us. Whether or not it is just a win, it felt different."

Heading into Week 5 with a 3-1 record for the first time since 2015, the Bengals will spend this week figuring out how to press on without Eifert, a former Pro Bowler who saw a season get cut short by injury for the third straight season.

Without Eifert, C.J. Uzomah will likely become the starting tight end with Tyler Kroft elevated to backup. Kroft has four catches for 36 yards this season while Uzomah has seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against Carolina.

After Eifert was injured, Cincinnati ran 43 plays. Uzomah was on the field for 36 while Kroft was there for 11. Perhaps a bigger indication of who starts was Uzomah being on the field for all six red-zone plays and for the entirety of the 16-play game-winning drive.

"I've said this before," Uzomah said. "I think we have the best tight end group depth-wise in the league. I don't think that's going to be a problem for us. Obviously, it's a big hit because Eif is a Pro Bowl tight end and he's a hell of a player. It sucks because he's our boy, but it's been next man up and we've done it before, so we're just going to have to do it again."

The Bengals were already without Joe Mixon but even with their top running back on the mend and Eifert out for the year, the offense is on a pretty good roll heading into a matchup with a team coming off a 38-7 humbling at New England.

Consider these things for the Bengals, whose offense underwhelmed in two straight losing seasons. Cincinnati has already matched the number of games it scored at least 30 points last season and the Bengals have topped 30 points in three of their first four games for the first time in team history.

If you want more numbers to demonstrate what Cincinnati's fourth-ranked scoring offense is achieving thus far, consider that the Bengals have amassed 126 points in the first four games, only three behind the 1985 Bengals and five ahead of the 4-0 Bengals of 2015. Their 1,506 yards only trail the 2015 Bengals (1,688), while A.J. Green and Boyd are off to blistering starts, putting them on pace to become their first pair of 1,000-yard receivers since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2006 and 2007.

Losing Eifert for the season was crushing and devastating but the offense continues to be an enjoyable storyline for the Bengals after two years of middling results.

"When the schedule came out we knew were 3-1 on the road," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "We knew it was going to be tough sledding. Not as good as we hoped but we earned this. It won't matter if we don't take care of business the rest of the way."

The next order of business for the Bengals is a meeting with the Dolphins to start a stretch where six of the next eight games are at home.

SERIES HISTORY: 22nd regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead series, 15-6. The teams have split the last six meetings after Miami won the previous nine from 1978 to 2000. The last meeting was Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati when the Bengals sacked QB Ryan Tannehill five times in a 22-7 win.

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