The Good, the Bad and The Ugly of Cincinnati’s Wild Card loss to San Diego

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Jay Gruden

Gruden has departed for the Redskins jobI am not sure they have watched the film on the Bengals or not, but if they would like to hire him, I will thank Jay on his way out the door.

While you have to give Gruden credit for taking Dalton as a rookie and getting him prepared to the point that Dalton led the Bengals to 3 straight playoff appearances, you also have to objectively look at how the offense has, or hasn’t, performed in the playoffs.

Dalton is 0-3 with 1 TD, 7 turnovers and 2 botched snaps in the playoffs. AJ Green has never been a factor in any of the games – 13 receptions for 161 yards, 1 game over 50 yards (80), 0 100+ yard games, and exactly 0 TDs.

How can Gruden, with the plethora of weapons the defense has to focus on, not find a way to get Green involved?

Meanwhile, in Indy, where T Y Hilton is the only weapon they have and the only player the defense focuses on, the OC finds a way to get him 13 receptions, 224 yards an 2 TDs in one game, or as many receptions, 63 more yards and 2 more TDs that what Gruden has been able to get Green in 3 playoff games combined.

In those 3 playoff games, Gruden’s offense has scored a total of 26 points (2 TDs and 4 FGs). I hate to say it, but in his 2 playoff games, Bratkowksi generated 17 and 14 points respectively – or 2 more TDs than Gruden in 1 less game and with far less weapons.

Gruden may be a great interview, but as an OC, Gruden is your classic “over thinker” and for the 3rd year in a row, Gruden called a head scratcher of a playoff game.

My issues with Gruden on Sunday (in no particular order) were:

1) Green being targeted on just 5 of the Bengals 12 drives – how does that happen?;

2) BJGE getting 8 carries to Bernard’s 12 when BJGE was averaging 5.3 YPC to Bernard’s 3.8;

3) speaking of BJGE, I would love to hear Gruden’s explanation for not running on 3rd and 1 from the SD 45 and electing instead to go with a swing pass to Bernard – sure he was open and Dalton threw a terrible pass, but why make it harder than it needs to be?

4) down 20-10 with 5 minutes to play, the ball at the SD 41, the game still not out of reach and the Bengals facing 4th and 3, he goes with the lowest percentage play call, a deep ball to Jones? Incomplete. Game over. Drive safely.

5) lack of urgency – in the 4th quarter and down 10, the Bengals seemed to have no urgency, still huddling, running the ball, not calling timeouts. I think everyone was screaming at their TV to “hurry up,” but not Gruden

6) where was Eifert? Maybe he wasn’t healthy, but with him being dressed we have to assume he was, why did we not see him until the 4th quarter?

7) not getting Dalton comfortable early – Dalton’s day is dependent on how he starts. Get him comfortable early, he plays well. Don’t get him comfortable early and things oftentimes spiral out of control

8) on Sunday, the Bengals punted 3 times inside SD territory and had 2 other drives end in downs in SD territory – if they simply get FGs out of just 3 of those drives, it is an entirely different game.