The Cincinnati Bengals have had some noticeable ups and downs through nine games of the 2022 season. They are still searching for their identity and must play more consistently on both sides of the ball. Currently, the highs are very high, and the lows are very low. Cincinnati has suffered some brutal losses early in the season, with three of the four coming on the game’s very last play. This has put the Bengals in an 0-3 hole in the AFC North and fighting for a playoff spot with eight games remaining. The second half of the schedule is a grind and the postseason push will begin in Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals are still in control of their destiny down the stretch, with most of their games against AFC playoff teams directly in front of them. All things considered, not everything has been doom and gloom. Let’s pause for a moment and give out some midseason awards.
Cincinnati Bengals 2022 Midseason Awards
Offensive Most Valuable Player: Joe Burrow
In really no surprise at all, Joe Burrow has been the Bengals most valuable and steady offensive player at the halfway point. Burrow did struggle in the season opener against the Steelers, but that may be attributed to working with a new offensive line and still recovering from his emergency appendectomy. Other than this slight blemish, Burrow has once again been fantastic, throwing for 2535 yards at a 70% completion percentage with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions for a rating of 102.6.
Defensive Most Valuable Player: D.J. Reader
On the defensive side of the ball, D.J. Reader earns the award for the most valuable player. Reader is one of the best defensive tackles in all of football. His ability to stop the run and still provide pressure up the middle on quarterbacks is elite. Reader suffered a knee injury in Week 3 against the New York Jets and his absence was immediately felt along the defensive line. The Bengals might be getting a huge boost and are hopeful to get their star run-stuffer back against Pittsburgh.
Most Improved Player: Samaje Perine
The Bengals rely heavily on running back Joe Mixon, yet backup, Samaje Perine often doesn’t get the love he truly deserves this season. Although Perine doesn’t have the usage that Mixon does, he does his job well as the third down back and is a more complete pass blocker than Mixon. Perine has taken a huge step forward in 2022 in both rushing the ball and being counted on in crucial pass-blocking sets.
Comeback Player of the Year: Joseph Ossai
Joseph Ossai missed all of his rookie season in 2021 with a knee injury suffered in the first preseason game against Tampa Bay. He returned in 2022 and is being used as a rotational pass rusher at defensive tackle and end. While he has limited success, Ossai just turned 22 and the Bengals are banking on his development in the years to come. Look for Cincinnati to use him more at EDGE with the return of Reader.
Rookie of the Year: Cordell Volson
Cincinnati landed one of the best offensive linemen in the 2022 draft in North Dakota State standout, Cordell Volson. The Bengals took a chance on Volson in the fourth round and immediately gave him reps as the starting left guard in training camp. Volson never looked back, and PFF has rated him the best rookie offensive lineman in true pass sets as of Week 10. The emergence of Volson couldn’t come at a better time with the Bengals needing to effectively run the ball down the stretch.