Cincinnati once again had the ball teed up and in position only to have it yanked away by Lucy in a 26-10 Thanksgiving loss to the New York Jets. And in case you’re wondering, Lucy plays for the Cincinnati Bengals on offense, defense, and special teams. She coaches as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the team’s failures in all facets of the game.
-If I heard correctly (and that can be a crapshoot), Cincinnati was held below 40 yards of offense in the second half. Good teams make adjustments at halftime and find things that work in the second half. Cincinnati has scored exactly three points total in the second halves of the past two games.
-Carson Palmer continued his subpar season with two interceptions that were bad decisions. I know it’s against his instincts, but if his injuries are contributing to his struggles, he needs to shut it down for the season.
-The offensive line was pretty awful outside of a few decent running plays. The Bengals had no answer for the Jets’ pass rush, leaving Palmer to get beat up pretty badly.
-Chad Ochocinco dropped a late pass and T.O. seemed to lack energy in the second half. Am I crazy for wanting T.O. to hustle to the line of scrimmage?
-Of all the units, this one deserves the least amount of blame. Playing with a patchwork secondary and a street free agent (Jonathan Wade, who made some nice plays), the defense played admirably. Fourteen of the 26 points came on a kick return and then a short field due to a botched Cincy punt return.
-Aaron Pettrey might be getting walking papers after a missed field goal from inside 30 yards. He rebounded to hit his next attempt, but it could open the door for Jeff Reed (please no) if Reed is interested.
-The kick coverage team gave up a touchdown return to Brad Smith, who lost his shoe and still outran Cincinnati’s coverage. Yikes.
-The punt return team seems listless. Granted, the Jets did a great job of pinning Cincinnati deep, but the explosive returns from last year are absent. What happened?
-Andre Caldwell nicked the ball (supposedly) on a punt return and New York recovered, changing the whole momentum of the game. I’ve now watched the play three or four times in slow-motion and I can’t say for sure if he hit it. The play should have been reviewed. Which brings me to…
-This team needs an energy transfusion. Marvin Lewis is a great guy, but he’s not getting the job done. Furthermore, he has to challenge the fumbled punt simply because it was such a huge play. Even if he believes Caldwell hit the football (which is what he said in the postgame press conference), he has to force officials to take a second look.
-Bob Bratkowski continues to underwhelm. The play calling in much of the second half seemed to be a surrender, failing to even challenge the Jets.
-Mike Zimmer still seems like the best replacement for Lewis in my mind. Getting a solid effort from last night’s spare-parts unit is a good resume builder. I’d like to see him take over soon, giving the team some momentum heading into next season.