How can a guy call such a good and dominant game and then constantly fall apart at the end of halves when his defense is needed most? It happened again Thursday and cost the Bengals the game. The Dolphins got the ball with just 1:24 left, needing 45+ yards and having only 1 TO, Zimmer let the Dolphins go 57 yards (7 yard sack) in 1:03 seconds, including converting a 2nd and 17 from their own 17 yard line.
Even worse, Zimmer’s defense gave up the only thing they couldn’t afford to give up…the sideline. On the game tying drive, the Dolphins completed 6 passes and the Bengals let them get out of bounds and stop the clock on 4 of those passes. If the Bengals simply protect the sidelines, the clock runs out on the Dolphins.
An offense averaging just 89.1 ypg ran for 157 on the 8th ranked rushing defense. Unacceptable.
A few weeks ago, the Bengals had one of the healthiest teams in the NFL. Now they have the most cap money on the IR in the NFL (Atkins and Hall). While this defense is deep, Atkins is the best DT in the game, and no defense can fill that void. The Bengals now have their best CB and best DL on IR and are missing their starting LB for weeks.
The Bengals defense can still be strong, but the offense will be relied on much more now with Atkins and Hall out.