Cincinnati Bengals Grades: Week 14 Vs. Steelers
Dec 7, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) carries the ball after making a catch in the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
You could argue that the Cincinnati Bengals had their worst defensive quarter of the season and I wouldn’t argue with you. I wouldn’t argue that the Andy Dalton fumble was a key turning point in the game. The Facts, this week, are in each positions grade from Sunday.
Andy Dalton had one turnover this week, he would have had a second if there was not a penalty on the play. Even then, he had a hand in all 21 points for this offense and even more went 21 for 29 and 302 yards through the air with 2 touchdown passes. He scrambled for a 20 yard touchdown to take a 14-7 lead and then gave them the lead after dropping to 14-17 in the third quarter with a huge 81 yard touchdown pass. He gave them opportunities numerous times and they still fell short.
Running Backs: B
They abandoned the running game as the game got closer and closer. They passed 35 times and ran the ball only a credited 21 times, which included a failed 4th and 2 conversion. Jeremy Hill had eight attempts on 46 yards and Giovani Bernard had six carries for 17 yards. It wasn’t because the running game was terrible. In Fact, Hill was averaging 5.7 yards per carry before it got shut down. That was nothing to shake their head at.
Wide Receivers: B+
AJ Green was spectacular and deserved an A+ with 224 yards in the air and an 81 yard touchdown. The only thing bringing the grade down is well the rest of the receivers. Mohammed Sanu and Greg Little combined for three catches for 22 yards. Not a stat to be happy about if I am offensive coordinator Hue Jackson or Wide Receivers coach James Urban.
Tight Ends: A-
I would say I am just grading bottom to top by the look of this but then again the worst is yet to come. Jermain Gresham played a solid game in a receiving role catching three passes for 23 yards including a touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter. Kevin Brock had two catches for for 18 yards and played a nice role in both pass blocking and run blocking, which is why they recieved the highest of this offense, they had the most complete game as a position unit. Only knock was a personal foul call after the play on Gresham after an interception had been called back on illegal contact.
Offensive Line: C+
Andy Dalton was sacked three times and was hit three other times. The Bengals also gave up two tackles for loss due to pressure. It was not their best showing by any stretch. They were opened up some gaps for Jeremy Hill and his patience allowed for a number of gains. They need to protect Dalton better in these final two division games if they want any shot to take the AFC North crown.