Bengals News

Bengals’ win over Indianapolis left much to be desired

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CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 29: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 29: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts felt like a get-right week for the struggling Bengals offense. Instead, a one-point win left more questions than answers.

The Indianapolis Colts made the short trip east and nearly beat the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

It took the season’s most clutch play – a 16-yard pick-six by Carlos Dunlap– for Cincinnati to squeak out a one-point victory, against a Colts club whose two wins are against the league’s only winless teams.

In what seemed like a dream matchup, the Bengals scratched and crawled to survive. Cincinnati saved its season on the heels of its second pick-six of the season. Prior to the game-winning interception, though, the Bengals’ play in all three phases of the game was sub-par.

Offensively

Taking out an eight-yard second-quarter touchdown, A.J. Green was limited to two catches for 19 yards on seven targets. The team’s longest run was Alex Erickson’s 14-yarder, while Joe Mixon was held to 18 yards on 11 attempts.

Andy Dalton was under duress for most of the game. On his 30th birthday, Dalton was sacked three times and had to leave the pocket on multiple occasions.

Dalton had to stand in and take a hit from ex-Bengal Margus Hunt for Cincinnati’s second touchdown. On third-and-8 from the Indianapolis 25, Hunt blew past right tackle Jake Fisher with ease and was in Dalton’s face right away.

The seventh-year signal-caller, making his 100th career start, took the hit and lofted a 25-yard touchdown to rookie Josh Malone. Cincinnati managed just three first downs the rest of the game.

Defensively

One week earlier, the Colts had allowed 10 sacks in a shutout loss to Jacksonville. That same day, Cincinnati failed to register a sack in its loss at Heinz Field.

What better way to get right than against a depleted Indianapolis offensive line? The Bengals sacked Jacoby Brissett twice on the Colts’ first drive but notched just two more the rest of the way.

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The Bengals’ secondary has seen a mix of contributions from veterans and young-guns. William Jackson III put the clamps on Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh and was the focal point in yesterday’s defensive effort that limited Colts’ wideouts to six catches for 57 yards on 14 targets.

The real damage came from tight end Jack Doyle, who turned into Dallas Clark on Sunday. Doyle caught 12 of 14 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown, commonly finding holes in Paul Guenther’s zones and beating safeties George Illoka and Shawn Williams in man coverage.

The Bengals are yielding 111.9 yards per game on the ground, 18th in the NFL. Frank Gore posted a season-high 82 rushing yards on 16 carries against Cincinnati. Thankfully, the Colts abandoned him on their fourth-quarter drive that ended in Dunlap’s heroics.

Special Teams

Randy Bullock had a kick blocked on a field goal attempt that would’ve given Cincinnati a 6-0 advantage. It was the first time the Bengals had one blocked since November 2015.

Erickson fumbled twice on punt returns, losing one that set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal.

Tough task ahead

Cincinnati’s confidence levels did not increase in the win over Indianapolis. That’s a problem, considering what’s on tap in week nine.

Next: What Did We Learn, Class?

A trip to Jacksonville awaits the Bengals. The Jaguars (4-3) have a defense that ranks first in sacks, passing and scoring.

If there is a formula to beating Jacksonville, it’s winning the turnover battle. In their four wins this season, the Jaguars are plus-9 (12-3) in turnover differential and minus-1 (4-5) in their three losses.

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