The Bengals suffered another loss in Week 3 action. Losing to the Broncos wasn’t the biggest problem. Cincinnati seems to have an identity problem.
What can be said about an ugly loss? The truth hurts. The Bengals went into last Sunday’s battle with the Denver Broncos as the favorite. The Broncos were banged up and even suffered more injuries during the game (Mile High Adjustment Syndrome). Even with that advantage, the Bengals came up lame.
Could it be a case of mistaken identity? Do the Bengals really know who they are? Those two questions have to be taken seriously. Thursday Night Football is coming. Cincinnati has a short turnaround to find out what really went wrong.
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First-year offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is still working the kinks out. But what kinks does he really need to fix? Jeremy Hill looked good. Hill finally recaptured the downhill running style that made him a terror in 2014. His sophomore slump seems to have faded.
Jeremy damaged the Denver Defense for 97 yards on 17 carries. Those numbers gave him a respectable 5.7 yards per carry. But, Zampese left it at that. After falling behind, the Bengals were forced into passing mode. But, did they have to panic? There was enough time left in the game to mount the same ball-control type drive that they opened the game with. Instead, the Bengals went into destruct mode.
The Run Or The Pass?
Andy Dalton put up respectable numbers, despite the lone interception. But, he seems to lack the vision that he had under the tutelage of Hue Jackson. It’s still early. It’s not quite time to hit the panic button. But, with the Miami Dolphins making a prime time visit, Zampese and the Bengals need to get things together.
There’s room for a two-headed monster in the Queen City. Cincinnati teams of the past have used the best of both worlds. Under the control of Forrest Gregg and Sam Wyche, the Orange and Black was able to run when necessary and go deep with the pass. For some strange reason, the current trend is to be one or the other. It’s time to find some balance.
Consistently give Hill the rock and he’ll produce. Most backs get stronger as the game goes on.
Dalton is capable of carrying the Bengals on his shoulders. But, he shouldn’t have to. His numbers are self-explanatory. Through the first three weeks, he’s among the NFL passing leaders. Yet, that has translated into a 1-2 record. If the AFC North Crown is to go through Cincinnati, the identity problem needs to be addressed.
The Bottom Line
It’s early. Teams are still finding out who they really are. Unfortunately, the Men in Stripes are in that mix. Losing to the Super Bowl champion Broncos isn’t the end of the world. But, if the trend continues in a downhill spiral and that crucial balance isn’t found…some heads could roll.