Bengals 24, Chargers 27

Apologies for the dearth of posts this past weekend; the holidays always seem to soak up more time than I expect. Between shopping and family events, I did manage to catch bits and pieces of the game. It was more competitive than I, or most others, had expected – but in the end the same problems that have haunted Cincinnati all year emerged to trip them for another loss.

As has become common, the Bengals couldn’t play clean. They were flagged nine times for 55 yards Sunday, with three of those yellow hankies tossed on three consecutive plays during an embarrassing series in the third quarter.

1-10-CIN 22 (6:21) PENALTY on CIN-74-D.Roland, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at CIN 22 – No Play.

1-15-CIN 17 (6:21) PENALTY on CIN, Illegal Substitution, 5 yards, enforced at CIN 17 – No Play.

1-20-CIN 12 (6:21) PENALTY on CIN-9-C.Palmer, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at CIN 12 – No Play.

Another false start, delay call and an illegal formation on Andrew Whitworth would bring the tally of mental mistakes to six and 30 yards.

The Bengals did have several good, and largely penalty-free, drives in the first half, but repeatedly settled for field goals in the red zone. On their first possession, Cincinnati drove to the San Diego 11, only to boot a field goal after two incomplete passes and a three-yard run. And at the end of the half, the team got to the SD 7, but again failed to punch it in when two passes fell incomplete.

Finally, on their last drive of the game, Cincinnati went from its own 5 to the SD 19 before self-destructing and having to once more call on Shayne Graham.

1-10-SD 19 (2:34) PENALTY on CIN-88-J.Foschi, False Start, 6 yards, enforced at SD 19 – No Play.

1-16-SD 25 (2:32) (Shotgun) 9-C.Palmer pass short left to 87-A.Caldwell to SD 45 for -20 yards (51-T.Dobbins). FUMBLES (51-T.Dobbins), recovered by CIN-9-C.Palmer at SD 45. 9-C.Palmer to SD 45 for no gain (32-E.Weddle).

Two-Minute Warning

2-36-SD 45 (2:00) 9-C.Palmer pass short left to 88-J.Foschi to SD 39 for 6 yards (70-A.Boone).

3-30-SD 39 (1:11) (Shotgun) 9-C.Palmer pass deep left to 12-Q.Cosby to SD 16 for 23 yards (32-E.Weddle).

Timeout #3 by SD at 00:57.

4-7-SD 16 (:57) 17-S.Graham 34 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-46-C.Harris, Holder-10-K.Huber.

San Diego would subsequently get the ball back with enough time to get into range for a 53-yard field goal to win the game.

The final element of fail Sunday was playcalling. Consider this puzzling sequence from the third quarter.

1-10-CIN 49 (9:54) 32-C.Benson up the middle to SD 48 for 3 yards (32-E.Weddle, 70-A.Boone).

2-7-SD 48 (9:21) 32-C.Benson right end ran ob at SD 42 for 6 yards (23-Q.Jammer). SD-95-S.Phillips was injured during the play.

3-1-SD 42 (9:00) 9-C.Palmer pass incomplete short right to 23-J.Johnson.

Timeout #1 by SD at 08:55.

4-1-SD 42 (8:55) 10-K.Huber punts 42 yards to end zone, Center-46-C.Harris, Touchback.

Mmmmmm-kay, let me get this straight: after picking up 9 yards on two runs, your call on third and one is…a pass? Moreover, a pass to FB Jeremi Johnson, who has five whole receptions on the year? OK, maybe you can justify it if you’re planning to go for it anyhow on fourth down. But they didn’t. Instead they punt, and when teams can’t down it inbounds, they end up netting 22 yards on the boot. Ugh.

I know there’s a lot of moral victory talk out there today, and I get the sentiment. Heck, I’ve even expressed it before. But the Bengals performance this season – at least, their performance over the first nine or so games – made me greedy. And the playoffs aren’t guaranteed for any team in any year, and based on Bengals’ history, it may be a while before the pass this way again. In short, I would very much like more than one-and-done in a wild card game but, sadly, that looks like where they’re headed. They are just not playing smart enough football right now to expect anything else.


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Tags: Cincinnati Begnals San Diego Chargers

  • Nate

    I’m not sure where you can find stats on them, but Cincy’s penalties don’t seem to be a trend for just this year, but for Marvin Lewis’ entire tenure. Good teams simply don’t have a lot of mental mistakes and the Bengals have been struggling in that area for too many years. Makes me sick.

  • Victor

    As far as this last game is concerned. It seem as if every observer (outside of the Bengals fan base) has commended the Cincinnati Bengals for a excellent effort, against unbelieveable odds. A contest for 2nd seed after an extremely emotional experience that produced the game of the season. I can imagine the stress, because I have loss best/close friends unexpectedly….at young ages. Rarely, do you also see a friend make such a drastic turn-a-round for the better and have their life snuffed out at such a young age. It almost feels as if God made a mistake. It brings you down. It throws your game off. It makes you question so much about life and living. Honestly, when one considers Chad and his very emotional make-up, it was amazing that he could even show up…much less perform at that level. As far as any ‘Coaching errors’ are concerned, imagine being an older man (35-65yrs old) like most of the Bengal coaching staff, bearing witness to a tremendous maturation of a 26 year old young African-American male who was about to lose it all to the ‘streets’. It just seems so unfair. Imagine the questions running through Mike Zimmers head after just losing his Wife….unexpectedly. How does Coach Marvin Lewis play ‘Hardball Coach’ under these conditions? I’m the same age as Coach Lewis and I can only imagine his suffering and attempting to manage under such emotional chaos……And after all of this, to come within less than a minute of pulling off a victory desires NOTHING BUT PRAISE!!!!
    Finally, if for some reason that The Cincinnati Bengals do not make the playoffs, get into the SuperBowl or fill up the Pro-Bowl….They have Won my heart and they have already won against all odds. Who Dey!!!!!

  • David

    Again, I understand the sentiment, and completely agree that they did well to even show up, much less to play a close game. But that said, nothing about Henry’s tragic death excuses them when it comes to continuing to make the same mistakes they were making when Henry was alive.

    The Bengals have been piling up stupid penalties, gagging in the red zone and making questionable decisions (playcalls, poor use of timeouts, etc.) all season long. Every week, it’s the same “we’ll get it fixed” story after the game — and then next week, it’s SSDD. It didn’t hurt them too badly early on, when they caught some breaks and eked out wins, but the last few weeks the ball hasn’t bounced their way as much, so the mistakes have caught up with them.

    Again, all the props in the world for a good showing in SD. But the fundamental problems remain.