The Cincinnati Bengals have a tough opponent coming out of their bye week: the San Francisco 49ers, who are 5-2 and one of the top teams in the league.
But the Niners will be a bit less fearsome than usual on Sunday as they're missing their field captain, quarterback Brock Purdy. The Niners announced on Wednesday that Purdy had been placed in concussion protocol, and later said veteran Sam Darnold would start in his place.
Purdy has been magic for San Francisco ever since he was pressed into service after the team lost both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries during the 2022 season. And Sam Darnold is very much not Brock Purdy. Darnold won't even have one of the team's best offensive weapons, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, on the field to help him out. Christian McCaffrey might be a very busy guy once the game starts.
There's less drama surrounding the bounce-back Bengals, who have climbed their way to 3-3 after a surprising 0-2 start. The team has been sharpening up week by week, and were able to win two straight games going into the bye. Now with Purdy out, quarterback Joe Burrow and his retinue of offensive talent (Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon) have the chance to steal a win from the temporarily hobbled Niners.
Can the Bengals keep the good vibes rolling? Will the 49ers be lost without Purdy?
Follow along as Yahoo Sports provides the latest news, scores, injuries and highlights from the late slate of NFL games in Week 8.