Another disastrous outing for the Bengals. Jacksonville cruises to a 23-7 victory amid frustration and confusion for Cincinnati.
Week 9 came with a gift for the Cincinnati Bengals. With the prospect of defending Leonard Fournette staring them in the face, they got a reprieve. Fournette was benched for violating team rules. The plan was to take away the run and put the game into the hands of Blake Bortles.
Well, the Bengals had their wish granted by the football gods. All they needed to do was capitalize on the situation. Instead, they suffered an ejection of A.J. Green and looked like a team unprepared for the magnitude of the game. The result was a 23-7 loss to the Jags.
Cincinnati’s offense was kept off the field in the first half, as the Jaguars dominated the time of possession. Bortles led the Jags on a 15-play (their first of the year), 96 yard TD drive that ate 7:55 off the clock and put Jacksonville up 10-0.
Andy Dalton answered the drive with a 5-play, 80-yard scoring march for the Bengals. The highlight of the drive was a 59-yard catch and run by Tyler Kroft. After Joe Mixon scored, on a controversial touchdown run, Cincinnati was down by three.
The Bengals’ run defense seemed to think Fournette was still in the game. Chris Ivory took the bulk of the carries and was able to con the defense for 40 yards at the half. Cincinnati was down 13-7.
Trying To Get It Done
After Green was ejected for letting his frustrations boil over against Jalen Ramsey, the Bengals had a chance to prove they could man-up. In a game that had playoff implications, it was time to start the second half with passion, desire and a will to make a statement. On the first drive, absolutely nothing happened. Outside of a powerful catch and run by Kroft, the Bengals looked lost.
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For their second drive, more of the same. On three plays, the Cincy offense gained (lost) -15 yards. If there was ever a statement for not making a trade for O-line help, that was definitely it.
With the Jags showing more intensity, momentum and the game swung in their direction. After forcing the Bengals to punt from inside their 20-yard line, Jaydon Mickens weaved his way through the Bengals special teams players for a 63-yard touchdown. Game, set, and match. Cincinnati falls to 3-5 with two more run-heavy teams on the road trip.
Additionally, the Bengals offense was on the field for a mere 19:49 while Jacksonville hogged the ball for 40:14. If the Bengals are going to make any kind of noise in the second half of the season, ball control has to be somewhere on the list.
And, once again, the lack of second-half adjustments dictated the outcome of a game that had to be won. It seems Marvin Lewis has thrown in the towel on his players and the rest of the season. But, that’s just the opinion of one diehard writer. There’s still an outside shot that Cincinnati can sneak into the postseason. But, if they play with the lack of passion shown in Jacksonville, it’ll be another early exit.