The 4th quarter sure was a change of pace for the Bengals. It would start with a few nice plays by the Bengals with an 8 yard pass to Eifert and a nice 14 yard run by Bernard. Unfortunately it was called back due to a hold by Andre Smith. That would lead to a punt by Huber. The next drive the Bengals defense would take over again with an interception by Burfict. A very scary play though as Burfict was hit hard in the right knee and would not get up. It did not look good at all, as he was on the ground for a little while. The Bengals then would go three plays inside Bears territory looking to put the game way, but a young mistake by Sanu as he would fumble the ball, which was obviously a huge momentum swinger.
The fumble, recovered by Chicago, would lead to a nice drive led by Cutler and a great touchdown catch by Brandon Marshall. Now the score 24-21 with Chicago leading, the Bengals went 3-and-out at the worst possible time. After using two timeouts on the Bears touchdown drive that would leave the Bengals with none, that would come back and haunt the Bengals, as the Bears would basically run down the Bengals throat to run out the clock. The Bengals would stop the Bears on 3rd down, but again another costly penalty by Maualuga would end the game.
The Bengals played lights-out for 3 quarters, but too many turnovers and crucial mistakes at the worst of times, would lead to a loss on the first game of the season. But don’t let this loss cloud the many positives to come out of this game.
Overall Andy Dalton played great, throwing the ball with plenty of confidence going 26/33 282 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, and posted a 97.2 QB rating.
A.J. Green would end with 9 receptions for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The two-tight end attack between Gresham and Eifert saw them combine for 10 receptions for 82 yards and some long third-down conversions, something the Bengals lacked last season.
It doesn’t appear as though the Bengals suffered any major injuries, and the offensive line played great without Andrew Whitworth, allowing just one sack.
The entire AFC North would start off with all losses, and next week the Pittsburgh Steelers will come into Cincinnati to clash with the Bengals on Monday Night Football. Next week’s game will be a rough one, as I am sure Pittsburgh will also come to play with a chip on their shoulder after losing to Tennessee today.
But the AFC North is 04 as a whole, and the Bengals are still very much in good position to come out on top and win the division if they take today’s loss and use it as a grwoing experience.