Penalties – 2nd easy way to lose a game? Penalties. Especially dumb penalties. The Bengals racked them up on Sunday. 8 penalties for 84 yards. Can’t win many games like that. The sad part is, the numbers don’t tell the half of the problem. Terrible Penalty #1: Peerman’s block from behind on the Bengal’s first possession was a 50 yard swing in field position. Rather than start their first drive at the Chicago 27 with a silent crowd (compliments of Jones’s 50 yard punt return), the Bengals instead set up shop at their own 26 with a suddenly re-energized crowd and immediately threw a pick. The stat sheet shows 1 penalty for 10 yards. The effect was much larger. Terrible Penalty #2: Dre Kirkpatrick’s 15 yard personal foul penalty with 37 seconds left in the half which gave the Bears an opportunity to kick a 58 yard FG to go to the half 14-10 instead of 14-7. In a 3 point game, that may have been big, no? Terrible Penalty #3: Big Play Rey ending the game with a personal foul. There are not enough keys on this keyboard for me to properly express my feelings on this one. Thanks to Rey, the Bengals lost the small chance they had at a comeback. Rather than get the ball back with 1 minute to play, needing just a FG, Rey and the Bengals got front row seats for Jay Cutler’s victory kneel. 1 game into is new contract and Rey is back on my list.
Lack of Composure/Discipline – Peerman, Kirkpatrick, Maualuga, Shawn Williams facemask, burning 2 timeouts because you are unaware that the NFL only allows/requires 11 guys on the field. Along with the 84 penalty yards, the Bengals 8 penalties also eliminated 72 yards of offense (the 50 yard punt return, an 8 yard catch and a 14 yard run). So the penalties were actually more like 8 for 156! I can handle some penalties (holds, PI, etc), but the personal fouls (3) and too many men on the field are just poor discipline and some of that is on coaching.
Third-Down Defense – The Bengals ability to get off the field on 3rd down in 2012 hurt them. On Sunday, the Bears were 6-14 on 3rd down (42.9%) and 1-1 on 4th downs. Those 3rd down conversions include a 3rd and 17 for 18 yards, a 3rd and 9, a 3rd and 9 for 13 yards and a 3rd and 7 for 30 yards. 2 of those 3 conversions lead to a TD. The 3rd TD included a 2nd and 20 that was converted thanks to an 18 yard scramble by Cutler.
Game Management – Death, taxes, Maualuga sucking and Marvin not knowing how to manage a game, timeouts or his red flag. Example #1: Why challenge the first TD? Someone has to be phoning down to him (or should be) that there is nothing to challenge. I think Marvin just throws the flag on plays he wishes would be over turned regardless of what the replay shows. Example #2: There is a difference between aggressive and stupidity. I like aggressive play calling (Chip Kelly). The end of the half was not aggressive play calling, that was stupidity. If you want to go for the first down with 1:43 and 2 timeouts, fine – I still think it is stupid, but fine. You call real plays and use your timeouts. Once your first play nets -4 yards, you run out the clock, you don’t take the chance of an incomplete pass, Bears timeout, and a punt with about 45 seconds left on a short field…of course, that is exactly what happened. Example #3: Having 0 timeouts in the last 8 minutes because you had to call your last 2 timeouts on back-to-back plays where you couldn’t get the right number of players on the field. Example #4: Marvin carried 2 timeouts into the half and had 0 timeouts for the last 8 minutes of the game. By now you would think he would realize you cannot carry over timeouts.