The perception of the 2011 Bengals was that they could never beat quality opponents and benefitted from an easy schedule. They did nothing to dispute that argument last night. 44-13 felt like Western Kentucky taking on Alabama.
The biggest letdown was the defense. They couldn’t stop anything. The feeling was they were going all out to prevent Ray Rice from beating them, but Joe Flacco lit them up. The secondary couldn’t make any plays on the ball, which carries over another bad habit from last season. Good teams force turnovers. That includes actually catching interceptions, not just tipping them.
Last night was expected to be a buzzsaw. Especially with the passing of Art Modell, but to me there is a bigger issue. The team has a hard time with expectations. If you look at Marvin Lewis on the sidelines of a big game he is a nervous wreck. His upper lip has more perspiration than a big tobacco executive being grilled by Mike Wallace. May I suggest a mustache or a swipe of speed-stick? I really have no doubt the defense will get their act together and play better, but in the big prime time games can this team show up?
The world is not ending. Despite the ugliness of last night they are just 0-1. There were some bright spots. Green-Ellis was a joy to watch, and there is comfort in watching him run the ball and not worrying about a fumble. The offensive line showed huge improvements in regards to short yardage. They were pushing the Ravens off the ball. Geno Atkins is still getting better. He recorded two sacks, and is on the verge of being dominant.
There are plenty of things to worry about though. Bloggers like me are considered the scum of the sporting world, but here are some suggestions for improvements moving onto next week.