4 takeaways from Bengals heartbreaking week 14 loss vs 49ers

Leigh Oleszczak
George Kittle (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
George Kittle (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals fell in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers and it drops the good guys to 7-6 on the year and to third place in the AFC North. That’s how brutal this loss was. It dropped them from second to third and also took them out of the playoff picture as of now.

Let’s take a look at some quick takeaways.

Pass protection crumbles in worst possible times

We knew the offensive line was going to be a problem this year. The Bengals addressed it somewhat over the offseason but could have done more to help protect their franchise quarterback.

In this game, it felt like whenever the Bengals needed a key first down when facing third down that the pass protection would get destroyed. Burrow was sacked five times and this just can’t happen in key moments for a team that wants to make the playoffs.

Return game… yikes

A big reason for why Cincinnati was in the 20-6 hole they had to dig themselves out of was because of their return game, more notably, Darius Phillips, who had two muffs and lost fumbles. Phillips was bad but Stanley Morgan also struggled in the role though he recovered his fumble.

Those two turnovers by Phillips led to 10 points for the 49ers and the final score ended up being 26-23. Take away those turnovers and Cincinnati wins pretty handily. That’s how major those fumbles by Phillips were and he should not be returning punts ever again.

Missing Logan Wilson

George Kittle absolutely decimated the Bengals defense on Sunday to the tune of 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. While Kittle is an outstanding player and one of the best tight ends in the league, one has to think that the absence of Logan Wilson allowed the Niners tight end to do that kind of damage.

Wilson was injured last week and while he won’t be placed on IR yet, he’ll likely be missing several weeks. Having him in this game would have made a big difference and might have even helped get the good guys the victory.

On the outside looking in of playoff picture

If the season ended today, the Cincinnati Bengals would not be in the postseason. They dropped to third place in the AFC North as a result of the Browns beating the Ravens and would be on the outside looking in. We saw so many times on Sunday why this team might not be quite ready to be a playoff contender just yet but they’re so close.

This win was demoralizing but at least the guys fought back and forced overtime. Jessie Bates would have had a walk-off pick-six that could have ended the game. The Bengals defense looked to have forced a fumble at one point that the officials didn’t review. There were so many times where it looked like Cincinnati should win but fate just wasn’t on their side on Sunday.