Bengals’ Winners and Losers vs. Ravens
Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2) kicks a field goal during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated Baltimore Ravens 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Loser: Offense’s Ability to Finish
Although kicker Mike Nugent was able to convert five of his six kicks on the day (the lone “miss” being a blocked kick on a 44-yard attempt), this was a scene Bengals’ fans saw far to often on Sunday.
The Bengals were able to pull off the win in the end, but the offense settled for six field goal tries on the day while their lone touchdown came on a 77-yard heave from Dalton to Green. This simply won’t be good enough going forward. Luckily, the Bengals possess an extremely effective defense, which can push this team to victory even in lieu of substantial points. But this won’t always be the case nor is it good for the defense to relentlessly have pressure to win ball games after holding teams to 16 points. This game should’ve been well in hand prior to halftime. Had the Bengals even scored two touchdowns (in place of two FGs), their lead at the half would’ve been 23-0.
It didn’t help that after a strong start from Tyler Eifert, the Bengals lost him because of a dislocated elbow. Hopefully he won’t miss the remainder of the season as he can be an incredible red zone presence for this offense. Either way, this offense is dynamic enough and possesses enough weapons that they should be able to finish drives in the end zone. The Ravens do possess an extremely potent defense (especially against the run), so for the first game of the year, it isn’t a huge indictment against the offense. But if this team makes the post-season once more, they’ll likely face defenses like this. The Bengals will need to be more effective as time goes on if they hope to improve upon last year’s first round exit.