Week 10 was another learning experience for the Bengals. But, as the season draws to a close, Cincinnati needs to find a sense of urgency.
The Cincinnati Bengals went to MetLife Stadium and laid an egg. Under the supermoon and on the big stage, they lost to the Giants 21-20. The first trip to the Big Apple was a success. Coming back resulted in another close encounter but no prize. Some are saying the Bengals actually played well under the circumstances. But, the NFL isn’t built on consolation awards and grading curves. Cincinnati lost another big game.
Coming out of the Bye Week, this team should have been better prepared for what was at stake. Yet, once more fans were given the same warmed over stew that seems to keep Marvin Lewis at the helm.
What did we learn? I don’t know. But, I’ll give it a shot.
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Zampese’s Offense Ain’t Foolin’ Nobody
Maybe that’s being too harsh. Nah. Let’s get the frustration out. Andy Dalton is having a decent year. He’s only able to do so much on his own. When the OC isn’t calling the plays necessary to throw a slider to the defense, a signal-caller can only do what he thinks is right. In that situation, the personnel has to shine. There has to be an overwhelming desire will to get the job done. So far, the offensive personnel ain’t shining. Might as well toss the playbook on the bonfire too.
Why can’t the rest of the game be like the first drive of the game? It’s simple. The opposition makes an adjustment and takes away what the Bengals were doing successfully.
“Gee, Mr. Peabody. What can the Bengals do to make things better?”
“I’ll tell you Sherman, my boy. They must stop using so many space-age formations, line up and play some real football.”
Please excuse my mind wandering into childhood days. But, after a while, it starts to become self-explanatory to everyone involved. It starts to register on a kid’s level of understanding. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be ringing true with Lewis and Co.
Going back to the Bengals’ first drive of the game…excellent. Dalton connected with Tyler Eifert on a 71-yard bomb. The play isolated Eifert with a linebacker and had touchdown written all over it. But, after that connection, Dalton’s numbers look extremely pedestrian. He finished the night with 204 yards passing. Simply put, after the bomb to No. 85, the passing game yielded 133 yards. To say the least, that’s not very good….Moving on.
There Was No Sense Of Urgency
Unfortunately, this has been a hallmark of Lewis’ teams since he’s been the leader. After the long layoff from London, there were tons of things said about pride, discipline, playing technique…yadda, yadda. When it finally came time to prove it on the field, the Bengals were once again outplayed by a team with a “winning” record.
There are too many instances when the Bengals are performing flat. Over the bye, the theme was to get back on track and get to the playoffs (use your best Jim Mora impersonation). But, the outlandish prospects of that scenario are…well, outlandish.
Watching the Bengals toss another must-win game into the crapper was an insult. Either the coaching staff is failing the players or the players have peaked. If you’re asking for a gray area, there is none. The Primetime character of this team has become laughable. Most postseason games are big time network events. Maybe that’s the reason Cincinnati is winless under Lewis.
There’s Still A Chance At The Postseason
Really? Yes, there is. But, the time to get things in order is now. The way the Bengals are playing, they may have trouble down the stretch. The Steelers and Eagles loom as huge games. With their current performance, those are two losses waiting to happen (don’t shoot the messenger). Yet, winning the rest of the games could have the Bengals at 8-7-1. The AFC North has only one team with a winning record. Eight wins could set Cincinnati up to win the division.
The Buffalo Bills have got to be licking their chops, after watching another primetime meltdown. Once more, Bengals fans will be cheering for a bounce-back win in Week 11. But, that needs to be the start of a long love affair with the win column.