Situational Play-Calling – 2 play calls on Sunday really irked me and both had an opportunity to cost the Bengals the game. 1) With 8:30 left in the game and the Bengals up 27-17, the Bengals had a chance to end the game with a 1st and goal at the Ravens .5 yard line and Dalton gets picked on a back shoulder pass attempt to Green.
BJGE just had his most impressive run of the year, an 11 yard bruising run carrying Ravens defenders to the half yard line, you reward him with the TD. I don’t care that Gruden says they had a run/pass call where Dalton could choose, when you have 1st and goal inside the 1, with a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter, you run the ball 3 times.
No passes. No run/pass option. Worst case scenario, you get stopped 3 times, run 2 minutes off the clock and kick a field goal to go up 13. Even if the ball wasn’t picked, it would have stopped the clock – something the Bengals didn’t want to have happen. 2)
Again, still up 27-17 and this time at their own 45 with 4:30 to play and facing a 3rd and 1, the Bengals had a chance to essentially ice the game with a first down.
A first down would force Baltimore to use their last 2 timeouts and the Bengals could then take the clock down to at least the 2 minute warning before giving the ball back to Baltimore.
With less than 2 to play and no timeouts, the game would have been all but over. So Gruden calls for a run up the middle right? Nope! He surprises the Ravens with a stretch run…and the Ravens surprise Gruden by stopping said run for -3 yards, calling a timeout and getting the ball back, down 10 with more than 4:00 to play.
Kirkpatrick sealed the game with a pick 6 on the next play, but that does not let Gruden off the hook for a stupid play call – both in design and in situation.
Penalties – Recipes for losing in the playoffs include turnovers and penalties. On Sunday, the Bengals had 4 of the former and 10 of the latter for 76 yards. They were able to overcome the 10 penalties for 76 yards against the Ravens. They can’t overcome that sort of discipline lapse in Foxboro or Mile High.
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