Well, that was extremely ugly.
After a close win last Monday night vs. the Rams, the Cincinnati Bengals failed to keep the little bit of momentum they had going and lost embarrassingly to a Titans team they were favored against. Following a promising first drive that saw them get all the way inside Tennessee's 5-yard line, it felt like the offense just checked out as they would never even get close to replicating that production on any of their possessions afterward.
And once the first quarter ended, the defense too checked out and allowed 21 points in the second quarter alone. They would only allow three more for the rest of the game, though that is less a product of strong play and more so the Titans calling the dogs back and playing much more conservatively in the second half, as they should with such a big lead. After all, the Bengals' offense hasn't scored more than 20 points in a game once so far this season.
Overall, both the offense and defense looked completely out of sorts for the majority of this game. The litany of mistakes each side of the ball made offset the few highlights they had in this blowout loss.
So, what stats are most telling of how/why Cincy got beat so badly?
1. Derrick Henry: 22 carries, 122 yards, 2 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 passing)
A big reason why the Bengals had been the victors of this series so consistently since 2020 (up until this matchup, of course) was their ability to neutralize Derrick Henry's impact and turn him into a non-factor.
In their last two games specifically before the one this past Sunday, Henry's combined stats were 37 rushing attempts for 100 yards (just 2.7 yards per carry) and a single touchdown, which is a far cry from the production he puts up against the majority of other teams in the league.
Heading into this game, I believed that would once again be the result here. Not only because of previous matchups but because Henry was looking nothing like his usual self through three weeks heading into this game.
In his first three games of the season, the powerhouse from Alabama rushed for just 163 yards on 51 attempts (only 3.2 yards on average, career-low numbers for him) and a single touchdown. So, naturally, my faith was in a Bengals' defense that looked like it had finally righted the ship in Week 3.
Unfortunately, that faith was ill-placed and, as per usual, another one of my bold predictions failed to come to fruition.
Henry's effort wasn't the sole cause of the Titans coming out on top, but it was a huge reason as to why this game was won in such a dominant fashion for Tennessee. And he wasn't alone, as his rookie teammate Tyjae Spears also had a big day, rushing for 40 yards on just five attempts.