The Cincinnati Bengals opened the season at home, for the first time since 2009. But, the results were far from what they expected.
Cincinnati couldn’t have asked for better weather. Playing their first home opener since 2009, the Bengals were bathed in sunshine and cool breezes.But, it was the Baltimore Ravens who were able to put points on the board first, against a somewhat porous Bengals defense. A time-consuming 13-play drive ended with a Justin Tucker field goal to put the Bengals behind.
On the Bengals’ answering drive, it was a steady dose of Joe Mixon. The offense seemed to be clicking and received help from a C.J. Mosley personal foul. But, Cincinnati fell into old habits when Andy Dalton was intercepted on the very next play. Dalton was looking for A.J. Green, but the ball was deflected and landed in the waiting arms of defensive back Brandon Carr.
The Bengals’ defense was able to get off the field and the offense was set to try it again. It was time for Giovani Bernard to show how well he’s healed. He responded by ripping off a 23-yard scamper up the middle. A couple of quick, big-gainers from Dalton.
Then, like clockwork, it happened again. From the Ravens 9-yard line, Dalton tossed another pick. This time, the INT came in the end zone. For some strange reason, Andy tried to thread the ball into three defenders in purple.
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Defense Tries To Rescue The Ginger
After suffering picks on two consecutive drives, the feeling had to be mutual among Bengals fans. The game was going to get out of control in a hurry. But, the youth infused defense was able to rise to the occasion. The unit was able to turn back the tide.
However, the biggest issue with keeping the defense on the field is obvious. The Bengals defense may have become younger and faster, but that isn’t an excuse to have them exhausted from lack of offensive production.
While most of the offseason concern was aimed at the offensive line going through a transition phase, there may be something going on with Dalton.
In addition, this is Andy’s second year in Ken Zampese’s system. There should be no reason for the mistakes Cincinnati is seeing from their signal-caller. Three interceptions in the first half left the Bengals in an embarrassing 17-0 hole at the half.