The Cincinnati Bengals did everything right in the first half of their Monday night match up against the Denver Broncos. Then in the second half, I wasn’t sure if the Bengals were trying to lose the game on purpose or the Broncos were just that determined to win. Either way, the Bengals looked like a second rate team when they came out of halftime.
A.J. McCarron looked like an NFL starting quarterback in the first half, leading the Bengals on an 80 yard drive and then a 90 yard drive for touchdowns. The run game and short game looked like it was on a roll and the passing game was incredible. The second half was a tail of two different games. The Bengals offense was anything but inspired, no adjustments were found to beat a tighter Denver defense. They ended it in almost fitting fashion by fumbling it away in overtime.
The Bengals play calling in the second half was anything but good, the coaching staff looked lost on how to help McCarron play the game. Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis proved again that they are more worried about holding a lead and managing the clock instead of winning a football game with scoring. They pulled out trick plays in the first half, constant shuffling of the offensive line and receivers,which we saw none of in the second half.
The Bengals defense went into conservative mode and allowed quick passes, hurry up offense, and very few blitz packages in the second half. Carlos Dunlap went from getting constant pressure to almost no pressure. The players play the game but the loss goes to Marvin Lewis and this coaching staff for a poorly supporting the players with adjustments and confidence.
Bengals fans saw a 14-0 lead go to a 17-20 loss in overtime. Gary Kubiak is a good coach but the Bengals coaching staff made him look like a genius, something he is not in the NFL. Some people might point to a missed field goal that turned into a field goal to end the first half for the Broncos, but Nugent did his job in the second half.
If the Bengals can’t recover quickly, they will have no shot at a first round bye, if they can’t find a way past the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are coming off a big victory over the Steelers, which handed the Bengals the AFC North. They will need a win and a Denver loss if they want the first week bye now.
This was a disappointing end to what looked like and inspired team in the first. The only question is now, can they find a way to get past the Baltimore Ravens?