Slow Start – The Bengals (especially Dalton) have a tendency to come out slow and sloppy. If they want to finally win a game in the playoffs, they can come out of the gate the way they have 2 of their last 3 games. Good teams won’t fail to capitalize on 2 early interceptions like the Ravens did.
Ball Security of Jermaine Gresham and Tight Ends Who Play in Place of Jermaine Gresham – Even when Gresham doesn’t start, the guy that takes his place at tight end apparently feels the need to put the ball on the carpet just like Jermaine. Eifert and Charles have combined for 40 catches and 0 fumbles. Gresham and Smith now have 50 catches and 4 fumbles.
Bernard Running – I love Bernard and what he brings in the passing and running game, but he has been struggling running the ball the past few games. On Sunday, Bernard had just 22 yards on 13 carries (1.7 YPC). In week 14, Bernard had 99 yards on 12 carries (8.3 YPC).
In the 3 games since, he has just 75 yards on 39 carries (1.9 YPC). The Bengals could really benefit from Bernard giving them more in the run game.
AJ Green Breaking up Interceptions – 3 of Dalton’s 4 interceptions on Sunday were on passes to Green. That makes 12 on the year, more than any other QB-WR duo. I may be nit picking here, but Green has to give a better effort on breaking up interceptions.
The INT thrown by Dalton in the end zone was a poor pass and even poorer decision by Dalton, but with a little effort, Green knocks that ball down and the Bengals run a 2nd and 1 play. I am not excusing Dalton’s bad throws to AJ (he has plenty), but when AJ has to give the same effort to break up an INT as he does to catch a pass.
Injuries – While it looks like the only significant injury the Bengals suffered was the dislocated wrist of Alex Smith, you don’t like to see 3 of your starting offensive lineman leaving the game with foot/ankle injuries. Hopefully the injuries to Whitworth and Collins (and maybe Cook?) are minor.