Bengals Throw Away Another Chance Against Redskins

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Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; General view of the line of scrimmage as Cincinnati Bengals long snapper Clark Harris (46) snaps the ball against the Washington Redskins during game 17 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Redskins and Bengals tied 27-27. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; General view of the line of scrimmage as Cincinnati Bengals long snapper Clark Harris (46) snaps the ball against the Washington Redskins during game 17 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Redskins and Bengals tied 27-27. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Bengals traveled all the way to London for a tie. The bye week will be a good time to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

London was an opportunity for a change. The Bengals (3-4-1) were primed to make a move in the AFC North. Instead, they had to settle for a 27-27 tie with the Washington Redskins (4-3-1). Once again, Cincinnati blows a chance to move up in the standings. Now, the season shifts into damage control and a scramble to make the playoffs.

After being completely dominated in the first half, the Bengals made a valiant effort to come back. Andy Dalton was efficient again going 27-of-42 for 284 yards a TD and an INT. The running game was still effective. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard teamed for 128 yards. But, the Bengals still managed to squander the opportunity. 

There were a few firsts at Wembley Stadium. Fans were treated to the first overtime game. Alex Erickson returned a kick for 65 yards to give the Bengals excellent field position. But, we’ve seen this all before. The Bengals seem to always get involved in historic firsts that go nowhere.

Super Bowl XVI was one of the best played…yet the Bengals lost. Then, there was the epic Super Bowl XXIII. Cincinnati and San Francisco battled in another classic showdown. The outcome was the same. Another Bengals loss while looking good.

Wasting Chances

There comes a time when things have to get better. With the Men in Stripes, it seems to get better and then go downhill fast. One of the keys to a win over the Redskins was to confuse Jay Gruden and his defense. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry has stated he isn’t doing the best he could. But, this was a game that he basically called right.

“We’re not getting it done right now,” Barry emphasized at his press conference on Thursday. “I’m not getting it done.”

This was a chance to hit the Redskins while they had doubts. The players have confidence in Barry but he has second thoughts about his teaching the scheme.

The sack of Dalton, ending a potential game-winning drive in overtime, was another shot in the arm for the Skins. Whether a blown assignment, bad blocking or a great call by Barry, the offensive line was overwhelmed. Great teams don’t have constant breakdowns in critical situations. Good to mediocre teams will suffer all the time.

Next: London Game Needs To Be Turning Point

What More Can Be Said?

The Bengals traveled all the way to London…for a tie. Sure, they have nothing to hang their heads about. The offense has Tyler Eifert back, the running game is looking better and Zampese seems to have overcome his creativity block. But, those things have to transfer into W’s. The NFL doesn’t give points and playoff berths based on looking pretty.

Being 3-4-1 isn’t as bad as 3-5. But, it still stings when you think of the four points Mike Nugent left on the field.

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