If the Cincinnati Bengals are going to go farther than they did last season, the time is now. The tie in London exposed a team in transition.
The long awaited trip to London is finally over. The results for UK fans were great. The Bengals and Redskins ended the game in a 27-27 tie. The perfect ending for the last game across the pond. While most British fans may be delighted at the outcome of the NFL’s offering, Bengals fans are waiting for their team to finally rise up. The tie in football is just another way of showing mediocrity. Cincinnati fans are tired of the status quo.
The Bengals’ trip to Wembley Stadium was well received and actually had the feel of a home game. But, there were a few things missing. For some strange reason, the urgency wasn’t there for the home team. Sure, the numbers were there. The big plays and end zone antics. Yet, Marvelous Marv is still having trouble with getting his team focused.
The AFC North is wide open. At the halfway point, only one-half game separates the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals. The trip to the UK was supposed to show how fired up Cincinnati was. Battling Jay Gruden presented a chance to flex defensive muscle and let the Redskins see who the offense belongs to. Instead, the Skins mustered enough moxie to draw even with their enemy.
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Through 60 hard-fought minutes, the bottom line was nothing. It wasn’t a win nor a loss. Two teams just beat each other down for the right to say they played a game. Dear NFL…please do away with the tie. But, I digress. This is about mediocrity.
Did Eifert Make A Difference?
Having The Man of Steel back was encouraging. With Tyler Eifert running routes, the heat will surely be taken off of the wide receivers. Andy Dalton welcomed his favorite target back by targeting him 12 times. Eifert ended his day with 9 catches for 102 yards and a TD.
That’s truly a wonderful story. But, Eifert isn’t going to get the Bengals back on track. Seeing No. 85 on the field was a good thing. He’s a huge part of the weaponry for Cincinnati. Yet, there are other things wrong with the defending AFC Champs.
It’s time to wake up. The loss wasn’t on Dalton. He did his part. He put in a workmanlike day and put the Bengals in position to win twice. The guy with the guitar player’s name has to be brought into the equation. Four points were left on the field that would have ended the game at 31-27.
Truthfully, the defense is horrendous. Paul Guenther either has lost his ability to lead the players or the schemes need to be replaced. Funny, Mike Zimmer’s defense seems to be doing just fine. Once again, I digress.
Dalton didn’t give up 458 yards to Kirk Cousins. Honestly, Mike Nugent didn’t play in the secondary and let Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, and Vernon Davis run free. Neither of the aforementioned players tried to make arm tackles and ESPN highlights with missed hits. That was all accomplished by a defense that had no sense of urgency. It was all coordinated by coaches that seem to have lost their edge.
Is that 2016 calling? It wants to know if Guenther and the Bengals D are still relevant. Suddenly, this defense looks old and slow. Fans understand the learning curve is in effect. But, there doesn’t have to be a drop in intensity and execution.
Making the playoffs is still a real possibility. But, if this year’s edition of the Bengals is going to make the postseason, there have to to be immediate changes. Firing Marvin Lewis isn’t an option, at this point of the season. What can be done? The coaches need to have a meeting. Then, players need to be called out. It’s time to air the dirty laundry, fix the flat tire and reclaim the North.