If you were hoping for a competitive game in Paycor Stadium this Sunday, you better fire up EA Madden 22 and set it to All-Pro difficulty because the real-life Cincinnati Bengals are not going to give you one.

At the half, they lead the Carolina Panthers 35-0 and somehow, even that scoreboard feels like selling their domination short. They were pretty much perfect.

In the first half, the Bengals picked up 21 first downs while the Panthers picked up only one. The Bengals’ average gain per play was of 6.9 yards to the Panthers’ 1.9. Oh, and Joe Mixon led the way as Cincinnati scored five touchdowns in five red zone trips.

In case I need to remind you, this is ONLY the first half we’re talking about here.

But more than all of that, the most exciting part of the ultra-efficient first-half performance was the running game. After struggling to do anything against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, the Bengals were not stopped this time around.

Two quarters into the game, Mixon averaged 7.5 yards per carry in 15 attempts. After approaching the last few games with a pass-happy mentality, the Bengals dominated the early downs with a 50-50 approach and were more successful with the run picking up a first down in 55% of their early down rush attempts.

The huge lead at the half will allow the Bengals to keep working on the running game over the rest of this game which, quite honestly, it’s over.

While many will try to take credit away from the Bengals by pointing out this is the Panthers, don’t forget the Browns also have had a bad defense all year long. To do this even against a bad team is something the team desperately needed.

Featured image via Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports