Concerning: Offense not effective after first drive
After the Bengals marched down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive, a lot of fans were probably thinking the Stripes were on their way to a blowout. Well, after that first drive on offense, the group couldn't get things going. At halftime, they had just 34 yards of offense after that first-drive touchdown.
Jeremy Rauch noted on X that things have fallen apart for the Bengals offense once they get out of the scripted plays. He said that Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan need to figure this out and that's fair. The offense might have been missing Tee Higgins but they had Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and Tanner Hudson, who was wheeling and dealing on that first drive. There's no reason for them to have been playing this poorly.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, however, the offense did eventually figure things out but it wasn't necessarily pretty. The offensive line didn't play well, the run game was non-existent, and were it not for an incredible throw by Joe Burrow and the defense bailing them out in the final minutes, this game might have ended as a Texans blowout win rather than a close win.
Concerning: Defense gave up too many explosive plays
C.J. Stroud, the Texans' rookie phenom quarterback who went second overall in the draft, torched the Bengals. He had 346 yards passing, two total touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) and one interception while only getting sacked one time.
His best receiver of the day was Noah Brown, who absolutely dismantled this secondary, finishing the game with seven catches for 172 yards and averaging over 24 yards per catch. Yikes. Not only did the receivers have a field day against the Bengals' secondary, but the Texans' run game had themselves a day too. Devin Singletary finished with 30 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown.
It was a bad day for the defense though they did force some clutch turnovers that gave the team a fighting chance. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.