Postgame Thoughts (and draft meanderings): Bengals Fall To Texans 31-10


Welp, the playoff loss sucks.

Marvin Lewis falls to 0-3 in the playoffs and it’s easy to blame him for the team’s failures in the playoffs. But, I look at the lack of talent on both offense and defense. There are some gaping holes on both sides of the ball and they certainly glared their ugly faces today.

On offense, RB Cedric Benson only ran for 14 yards today. He only got the ball 7 times, but that 2.0 average is putrid nonetheless.

QB Andy Dalton was 27/42 with 0 TDs and 3 INTs, which was the big problem with today’s game.

I honestly think the JJ Watt pick-six was the biggest play of the game, when he somehow snagged the ball out of the air on a low throw by Andy Dalton. The Bengals couldn’t overcome the 7 point deficit and the defense couldn’t stop the run game in the second half.

When I look at that loss, I look at J.J. Watt’s interception touchdown. It changed everything. It allowed the Texans (the second-best rushing attack in the NFL), to run it every down for the rest of the game.

I also look at the lack of talent on both sides of the ball. If the Bengals run the ball better (hello, offensive guards), the offense moves better. If the Bengals have better offensive weapons other than AJ Green (hello, Jerome Simpson), then the Bengals don’t have to target AJ 12 times in the game. If the Bengals have a better secondary (hello, Chris Crocker), they actually pick the ball off at a crucial moment in the second half.

In some ways, this game was a positive. The Bengals realize that there’s a lot of room for improvement before they are even ready to play for a Superbowl. They lost to a 5th-round rookie quarterback and a team that had lost 3 straight. Bengals fans might be quick to toss up their hands and give up, but understand that this Texans team was extremely talented on both sides of the ball. The Bengals simply couldn’t match up.

They couldn’t match up with Andre Johnson. They couldn’t stop Arian Foster and Ben Tate when the defense knew they had to run the ball. On offense, they couldn’t get the run game going, and they didn’t have an answer when AJ Green was covered.

Just a frustrated Bengals fan venting here, but I hope the Bengals understand they need to infuse some major talent through the draft and free agency. If we were going to lose, I hoped it happen this way. 31-10, down by three touchdowns… there’s too many mistakes to be able to say “we only lost because of one play”.


But, Bengals fans have a lot to be hopeful for. AJ Green and Andy Dalton (despite his 3 picks that may have turned some fans away), are the future of this franchise. The Bengals absolutely must surround Dalton with more talent. A quarterback controversy is the last thing any franchise wants, and that’s why I think the Bengals must find solutions at both guard spots, runningback, and second wide receiver, in that order.

On defense, they need to find a solution at strong safety and cornerback for sure. Chris Crocker has had a large share of mistakes this season, and Taylor Mays isn’t quite ready to step into his strong safety position. At cornerback, we don’t know where Leon Hall will be when he returns from his ACL injury, Nate Clements is old (but smart and very good in run defense), then Adam Jones show flashes of elite potential, but can still get beat when you least expect it. And Jones is a free agent this season. The Bengals have to make a major decision next year, who to do with at starting cornerback? Hall/Jones? Hall/Clements? Clements/Jones? And what to do at safety? Keep Reggie Nelson at free safety (I think that’s the best option)…

Maybe you move Nate Clements to Strong Safety? He’s very smart, a veteran leader, and very strong in run defense. I don’t know. That’s a decision that the Bengals have to make.

I just hope they understand that major changes have to be made. The Texans exposed flaws that have been there this entire season. Andy Dalton needs more weapons. The Bengals defense needs more talent. Period.

Anyway, all that being said, the Bengals have made a nice start with young players like Andy Dalton, AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Rey Maualuga. They must decide who will surround these blue-chip pieces as they grow into the elite categories of an NFL.

I remember one analyst once said that you need 10 “blue-chip” players to make it to the Superbowl. The Bengals don’t have ten.

I’m looking at Mike Brown this offseason. Mikey, you had a great 2011 season. I give you an A for the season, but you need to keep it up before the city can trust you. Infuse some talent. Make this team a “perennial playoff contender”.

I’ll be patiently waiting for this year’s free agent season and this year’s draft. Let’s hope you don’t disappoint.

Marvin Lewis deserves a few more years before I’m done with him. Who Dey.