The End of the Half….Again
Have you ever seen a coaching staff struggle closing out a half/game like the Bengals coaching staff? The Bengals shot themselves in the foot at the end of the first half in Chicago (costing them the game) and they tried to do the same at the end of both halves on Sunday. At the end of the first half, the Bengals get the ball at their own 7 yard line with just 57 seconds left and a 3 point lead, knowing the Patriots had all 3 TOs left, and that a first down ends the half.
Despite this, the Bengals ran 3 straight times, killed a total of 20 seconds off the clock, kicked a crappy punt and gave the Patriots the ball at the 50 yard line, needing just 15 yards for a tying FG. Of course Brady got it. The game management there was terrible, but more telling is the fact that the Bengals obviously did not trust Dalton enough to throw the ball. That is concerning to me and very telling of how they see Dalton at this point of his career.
Then, at the end of the game, Zimmer wanted to get in on the brain cramping. With a 10 point lead, under 10 to play, and the Patriots 76 yards from the goal line, the only thing the Bengals could not afford was a quick score. So, Zimmer did what he seems to always do with a lead by playing a soft defense. The Patriots went 75 yards in about 1 minute, and if not for an incredible stand at the 1 yard line, would have let the Patriots pull within 3 with about 7 minutes left.
I just don’t understand why the Bengals seem to play a prevent-type, soft defense when they get a lead. Why not stick with what was working? Going into that drive, the Patriots had 160 total yards of offense in the first 50 minutes of the game and the Bengals let them rattle off 75 yards in less than 3 minutes. I just don’t like getting away from what got you the lead.