Cincinnati Bengals get close, but lose again 26-23

The Cincinnati Bengals lose a fifth straight to the Arizona Cardinals 26-23, setting up permanent residency in the cellar of the AFC North, and the NFL.

Don’t call it a comeback, another moral victory, or a game showing progress based on some garbage time points. The Cincinnati Bengals are now 0-5 and heading to Baltimore for what is likely another loss to a team significantly better than they will be in 2019.

The Arizona Cardinals won a game that shouldn’t have been as close as the 26-23 final score would indicate. If not for costly penalties and misfires in the red zone, Arizona would have put this game away earlier. But a win is a win for the Cardinals, and for the Bengals, finding one becomes daunting.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton picked up some cheap numbers late. He’d finish 27 of 38 for 262 yards and two touchdowns. He would be better than rookie Kyler Murray, who racked up 20 completions on 32 attempts for 253 yards. Murray would add 93 rushing yards as well as a touchdown to his day.

For Cincinnati, this IS the worst-case scenario. 0-5 after a promising one game start to the season is as bad as it gets. October will offer them no favors as they have three tough games to close out the first half. After a road game at Baltimore, they have the Jacksonville Jaguars at home and close out October on the road, in London, against the Los Angeles Rams.

Statistically, Cincinnati wasn’t bad. After garbage time numbers for Dalton, fans can point to running back Joe Mixon for hope. Mixon had a season-high 93 yards on 19 carries. Receivers Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate both had touchdowns in the losing effort.

If first-year head coach Zac Taylor is going to be the answer in Cincinnati, he will need to find a bunch of answers before next week’s game against AFC North rival Baltimore. The Bengals looked elementary against a Cardinals team who will finish last in the NFC West. Arizona is a cellar-dweller that Cincinnati had few answers for. That won’t be the case against the Ravens in Week 6.