The Cincinnati Bengals were looking good over the past few weeks but they looked downright terrible in their 32-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. The Browns have continued to beat up on the Bengals even when they have no business doing so.
The loss drops the Bengals to 4-4 on the year and even worse, they're now 0-3 in the AFC North. This was a really bad loss and it allows the Ravens to get even further ahead in the race to the division title.
I don't want to talk about this game anymore so let's go ahead and look at the winners and losers from the blowout loss in Cleveland.
You know the game is bad when one of the winners on my list is a guy who didn't even play. We all knew that this offense would look different without Chase while he's recovering from injury but there's no reason they should have only scored 13 points without him.
Tee Higgins failed to step up and be the WR1 that the Bengals needed him to be while Chase was out. We'll talk more about him later though.
As for Chase, the team struggling so bad while he's out bodes well for him. The team has now seen firsthand how bad their offense is without Chase and that should lead them to pay him a big chunk of change. Joe Burrow clearly isn't the same guy without Chase to throw to and that showed in the blowout loss.
The only other player to be considered a winner in this disgusting game was Bell, who got his fourth interception of the season, tying him for the most in the league. He continues to be a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball and he'll get paid handsomely this offseason.
I could just put the entire team in this section but I don't believe in copouts when it comes to these lists. I'd rather single out the biggest losers. Let's start with an obvious one.
The entire offensive line could be included here but Williams was the worst by a wide margin. In a very important year for the former first-round pick, he's not giving the Bengals any reason to stick with him past the 2023 season (his fifth-year option was picked up so he'll be on the team next year).
This pains me because I love McPherson but he's paid to make kicks and he didn't execute on Monday night. McPherson missed a 47-yard field goal in the first half and then later missed an extra-point. Neither would have helped them much in the 32-13 loss but maybe the game goes differently if he connects on that first field goal.
McPherson has looked human this season, that's for sure.
Early on, the defense limited the Browns from doing much but that ended mercilessly in the second half. After the unit managed not to give up a second-half touchdown for the first seven games, that streak came to a screeching halt when they surrendered three touchdowns in the second half.
I know that the offense also didn't do their part but the defense failed in so many facets of the game. The pass rush was nowhere to be found, the run defense was gashed by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and the Browns wide receivers were constantly getting wide open. Not good.
The Bengals were fortunate to avoid the injury bug for most of last season but that all came crashing down in recent weeks. Chase got banged up last week and this week, Chidobe Awuzie had to be carted off the field. According to Zac Taylor, the injury to Awuzie doesn't look good.
Injuries can derail even the best teams in the league and the Bengals might find themselves impacted mightily by them.