If this had been Week 1, the sting wouldn’t have been so bad. But, Saturday night’s performance revealed old habits the Bengals should have fixed.
The results were just as bad as the final score. Kansas City put a thumping on the Bengals that could be felt all over the Queen City. There was a general lack of emotion that was felt throughout the entire game. My usual metaphor or simile for the contest is a battle (hope my English teacher isn’t reading this). But, you need two combatants to denote conflict. The Bengals weren’t in the game from the coin flip.
It would be utterly asinine to make one game define the Cincinnati Bengals’ entire 2017 season. It’s still preseason and there are chinks in the armor that need to be banged out. But, the way Cincinnati got kicked around was totally surprising. After showing signs of life in Week 1, there was absolutely no progress against the Chiefs. In fact, the team looked like it took one giant step back to the Lost Decade.
Time For Fundamentals
The Bengals’ front seven looked like they couldn’t stop Moeller or Elder, on Saturday night. KC ripped off runs that looked like they would take it to the house. Fortunately, there was a stray Bengals defender pumped enough to hawk the ball carrier and prevent further embarrassment.
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If you’re like me, you keep telling yourself it’s preseason football. Yet, the reassurance doesn’t prevent the mind from going back to 2016. The Bengals can’t afford to start the year slowly and then catch fire at the end. Last year, the defense didn’t have a clue over the first half of the season. When the lights finally came on, it was too late. There’s no reason for the defense to have trouble with the same issues as before. Arm tackles and the inability to cover tight ends led to a 6-9-1 record.
The most disheartening aspect of the loss was how it went down. Whether it was the starters, second-string or a mixture of players, the Bengals still got kicked around like a junkyard dog. Wait. A junkyard mutt would have had more fight than the Stripes did against the Chiefs.
Getting On The Same Page
There were dropped balls, questionable blocking by the offensive line and Andy Dalton’s inability to move the first-team into the end zone. What looked like a minor glitch last week is slowly turning into a major concern. This is year two of the Ken Zampese version of West Coast gadgetry. Dalton and Zampese should be clicking.
The same details that were lacking during the 2016 campaign can’t become habits in the preseason. It’s easy to keep saying thing will work out and all will get better before the opener. But, Week 3 is when the starters play the majority of the game. By the looks of Saturday night’s performance, there could be some major issues cropping up.
I wanted to have confidence in the O-line. In fact, the faith is still there. But, Dalton was pressured and pushed from the pocket too many times. When he had time to read the defense, he looked comfortable. Either his release will have to get even quicker or the offensive line needs to get an earful from Paul Alexander.
With the opener against division rival Baltimore three weeks away, this is not how the Bengals should look. That game will be followed by national exposure against the Houston Texans. At this point of the preseason, things should be running a bit smoother. Please don’t say that’s too much to ask. Kansas City did it.