The Cincinnati Bengals didn't look like their usual selves in Sunday's excruciating loss to the Cleveland Browns, who have now taken five of the last six against Cincinnati in head-to-head matchups.
The Bengals never even got into the red zone. They were held to just three points for the entirety of the game and went scoreless in the first half. Joe Burrow was held to a career-low 82 passing yards in the game. However, if there is any bright side at all on the offensive side of the ball, it is that Burrow and the Bengals' offense had zero turnovers in the game.
Cincinnati’s defense made some very nice plays, including three sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception by Daxton Hill. They held Deshaun Watson to 154 passing yards but weren't as stout as they could've been in stopping the run. They struggled to get Nick Chubb down at the first point of contact, but that is normal with Chubb being one of the best running backs in the NFL. However, here is where the game truly turned.
What was the turning point in the Bengals Week 1 loss?
After the Dax Hill interception, the score was 10-3, and Cincinnati had a chance to tie or add points to the deficit, but they came up empty. Evan McPherson missed a 51-yard field goal wide right, and that is exactly when the game felt like it was destined for the Browns on Sunday. The Bengals looked drained, and it felt like a dagger. After forcing a must-needed turnover, the defense had to go right back onto the field, and the Browns, again had excellent field position.
When games are ugly like this one and it feels like nobody is on the same page and nobody can convert first downs or move the ball, teams need to jump on any opportunity they may get. The Bengals had a chance after that turnover, but they couldn't pounce on it, and the game went lopsided after that.
The Browns added to the lead and then continued to do so, leading to a 24-3 final score in one of the worst offensive outings in recent memory for the Cincinnati Bengals.
All players and personnel courtesy of Pro Football Reference*