Bengals: Referee Decisions are a Problem

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Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks with referee Clete Blakeman (white hat) at the end of the second quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks with referee Clete Blakeman (white hat) at the end of the second quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Through three weeks of the NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals are 1-2. Referee decisions have been a major problem. Penalties and booth reviews have taken their toll. Is this a major cause for concern?

Different colored stripes are clashing in Cincinnati, and not in an unfashionable way.

The Bengals have had their fair share of troubles with officiating these past few weeks. Fans are becoming frustrated beyond belief. Penalties and reviewable plays just haven’t gone their way. But too many yellow flags in the first three games shouldn’t cost the Bengals the season.

Penalties

One of the most detrimental problems of the past few weeks, this needs to be addressed. Functioning as both drive-enders for the Bengals and drive-savers for their opponents, they hurt Cincinnati on both sides of the ball. While young on offense and defense, inexperience isn’t what’s causing this problem.

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Offensively, it’s no secret that Cincinnati’s issues have been along the line. Andrew Whitworth has committed two holding penalties this year already. Every other starter along the offensive line also has at least one holding call to their name. Whether it’s overcompensation for letting Andy Dalton get tossed around so badly in week one or not, the Bengals line can’t afford to keep playing like this.

On defense, the Orange and Black have seen three drives extended solely because of penalties. The culprits aren’t rookies still trying to get the hang of the speed of the pros – they’re the Bengals leaders and veterans. Adam Jones and Karlos Dansby both have committed 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalties on third down and eleven that have led to points for the opponents.

Penalties like these from veterans in crucial situations are inexcusable. Between unnecessary roughness and the Bengals’ league-leading number of defensive holding calls, something needs to change, and it starts at the top. With more discipline from coaches, Cincinnati’s penalties problem should begin to work itself out.

Booth Reviews

This has been the main point of contention among Cincinnati fans. Penalties are the fault of the players. But when a questionable call on booth reviews don’t go the Bengals’ way over and over again, then what?

Just keep chopping wood.

Yes, the CJ Uzomah missed touchdown was heartbreaking. For no one to  notice his knee until later in the broadcast – way too late to be reviewed – was more than unfortunate. This kind of missed call almost never goes unnoticed in professional football. The fact that it happened to the Bengals is purely bad luck.

Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports /

The other two major calls that have burned Cincinnati recently have been reviewed. Both Adam Jones and Tyler Boyd seemingly had a knee down when the football came loose, but without enough solid evidence to overturn them, the referees let both stand as fumbles. If this  seems rough, welcome to the NFL. If it were fair, the Browns wouldn’t have just one winning season since 1989. In the end, fans can only hope these calls will even out.

Next: Bengals Need To Find Out Who They Really Are

Look for Cincinnati to bounce back this week as they battle the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.

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