After another meltdown against the Jaguars, the Bengals need to refocus for Week 10. The road trip doesn’t get any easier.
When the preparations for the Jaguars began, there was an unusual amount of fans viewing the game as a loss. It wasn’t because the Bengals (3-5) lacked the talent to compete with Jacksonville. Cincinnati has a talented group of players. The true nature of this 2017 team is starting to surface.
With half the season gone, the Bengals are no better than they were last year at this time (3-4-1). The remaining games of the 2017 campaign will tell the whole story. Something has to be done.
It was an ugly game, to say the least. It looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers put on different uniforms and pretended to be the Jaguars.
The beatdown was so embarrassing and thorough, things began to take on the feel of a 1990s game. That’s when the Bengals were so bad, you had to wonder what else could go wrong. Leonard Fournette missed the game for breaking team rules. But, Jacksonville never missed a beat. It was almost as if Fournette’s benching inspired them to prove they could win without him.
The honest truth
This team may not win another game, until the Browns come to Paul Brown Stadium. And if that’s the case, Mike Brown has effectively ruined another possible playoff appearance for his team. But, this ain’t all on Mike. There’s a lot riding on the horrendous coaching of Marvin Lewis and Duke Tobin’s failed attempt at building a true contender. The Bengals are stocked to the brim with quality draft picks. But, with Lewis at the helm, they’ll never see the playing time they could deserve.
What happened to the amazing team that fans were promised in the offseason? Well, seems it got lost on the way to Cincinnati. In eight games, the Bengals have been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. One minute they look like a team capable of winning the AFC North. And in the same instance, they look like a trainwreck.
The offense needs an overhaul
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It’s easy to say the O-line is a hot mess. But, it’s even better to just put the whole offense in a bag and drop them in the Ohio River. The Bill Lazor engineered offense was able to generate a paltry148 yards of excitement.
Since looking like world-beaters in Week 3, the Bengals’ offense has struggled and that’s a stretch. After bragging that the offense would be more streamlined and precise under Lazor, it’s back to the old routine.
Since the canning of Ken Zampese, the Bengals offense has taken a nosedive and sit at the bottom of the NFL. That’s right. The Bengals are dead last in total offense, after playing the Jaguars.
To make matters even more confusing, Andy Dalton has lost the ability to throw the deep ball. With no time to sit in the pocket, Dalton is chucking the rock down the sidelines and hoping it gets caught by a guy in Orange and Black.
That short, quick passing attack which worked against the Green Bay Packers has been lost in the shuffle. No, it’s not all on Dalton. But, he has to speak up. A.J. Green and Joe Mixon have had their time in the spotlight. As the offensive captain, it’s time he chimed in on the futility of the O.
The defense is lost too
At one point, the Bengals’ D was the bright spot of a year quickly spiraling out of control. But, now, it seems the defense has become part of the blueprint for beating Cincinnati.
In Jacksonville, Chris Ivory stepped in for Fournette and burned the Bengals for 70 yards. In all, the Jaguars shredded the Bengals defense for 149 yards. That’s just 20 yards shy of their average.
There’s a lot of football left to be played. But, Cincinnati is looking like a team that just wants to toss in the towel and wait for a better set of circumstances. Looks like there’s no fight left in the dog. Adam Jones said it best.
"“At a certain point, it’s a reality check with guys in the locker room. Do you really want to win? That’s my question to some of these guys is ‘How much do you want to win?’”"
It’s a good question. An honest inquiry. But, there are only eight games left to prove it.