Called Out is back this week—with a vengeance.
This past Sunday night the Bengals dropped to 3-4 on the season after losing 24-17 to their AFC North divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3). The Bengals now stand third in the division behind the aforementioned Steelers and the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens.
With yet another winless October in the books for the Bengals under head coach Marvin Lewis, there is now a feeling of panic in Bengaldom.
It did not seem as though the Bengals were running on all cylinders for the third straight week as the offense was sluggish and flat and the defensive secondary was abysmal yet again.
There were many players that are responsible for the mess that we all encountered against Pittsburgh on Sunday night, so without further ado, let’s call them out.
Dalton actually looked sharp early on in the game while BenJarvus Green-Ellis handled the brunt on the workload. It seems as though that is what you get when you finally have a balanced offense to work with.
Early in the game, Dalton’s passes were on-target and he looked good in the pocket. He rifled a pass between two defenders to A.J. Green for an eight yard touchdown strike.
However, the wheels fell off after that pass.
Dalton simply could not connect with any targets in the second half of the game as he got rid of the ball too quickly and did not progress through his reads. When he did unleash a pass, it was done so with a large amount of inaccuracy. Dalton finished the night 14/28 for 105 yards along with a score and an interception for a passer rating of 56.4.
If the Bengals are going to have any hope for contending for a playoff spot this season, they simply can not afford one more game like this from their sophomore quarterback.
Green did have the lone receiving touchdown against Pittsburgh, but that is exactly all that he had. He finished the game with one reception for eight yards and a score.
Ike Taylor played very well in coverage against Green and also had continuous safety help over the top, but Green will see that type of scheme against him for his entire career and needs to do a better job of finding ways to get open.
It did not help Green’s cause that Dalton did not look to throw long to Green or trust him with a jump ball at all during the game which helped diminish Green’s numbers.
The connection of Dalton to Green is going to have to show up again quickly after the bye week, or this season could be lost for the Bengals in a hurry.
The offensive line actually did a spectacular job on Sunday night against the Steelers vaunted pass rush. Andrew Whitworth handled James Harrison with ease as Harrison basically became a non-factor in the game.
The line blocked valiantly for the running game and they were able to keep Dalton’s jersey relatively clean. This is a good sign going forward for this unit.
Tate started the game at the second wide receiver position opposite A.J. Green in the absence of Armon Binns. Tate finished the game with one reception for three yards.
Being a number two wide receiver when the coverage is rolled to the other side of the field, there simply should not be any difficulty getting open and helping out your struggling quarterback.
Tate could not get this done during the game and it was a major factor in the dismal Bengals offense. Going forward, it is tough to see Tate as anything more than a mediocre return specialist.
Gruden showed absolutely zero creativity with his offensive scheme on Sunday night. Out of Dalton’s 28 pass attempts, only four were thrown beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The Steelers brought up their safeties and played zone coverage with linebackers that watched the eyes of Dalton all evening. This all could have been avoided with a couple of deep shots down the field to Green which would have forced the Steelers defense to play more honestly.
Unfortunately, Gruden seemed to be content with the way things were going and did not make any adjustments to the offensive scheme throughout the game. If there is one big name to call out on the offensive side of the ball, that name would be Jay Gruden.