Breaking down the turning point in Bengals Week 4 loss to Titans

When was it obvious that Cincinnati wasn't winning this game?
Oct 1, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor looks on from the
Oct 1, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor looks on from the / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this before -- The Cincinnati Bengals' offense struggled once again and the team lost. They're now 1-3 on the year and time is running out for them to get things figured out and salvage their season.

The Bengals got off to a good start in this eventual blowout loss, marching down the field and settling for an Evan McPherson field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. That would be the only time they'd lead the entire game, as the Titans quickly tied it up at 3 moments later with a field goal of their own.

The Titans were leading 17-3 after a monstrous Derrick Henry run and the Bengals needed points to try and make this a game before the half. Cincinnati's offense was starting at their own 25-yard line and managed to get to their own 43-yard line before facing 4th-and-3.

That brings us to the turning point of this game.

Bengals turning point from Week 4 loss

On 4th-and-3 on their own 43-yard line, rather than going for it and trying to keep the drive going, the Bengals punted the ball away. This was not only the wrong decision because the team desperately needed to try and get something going but also because the Titans were going to get the ball back at the start of the second half.

Punting the ball to Tennessee allowed the Titans to double-up on points, which is exactly what they ended up doing. The Titans went on execute a seven-play drive that went 80 yards and ended with a touchdown pass from Derrick Henry (yes, the running back) to Josh Whyle.

When the second half began, the Titans did exactly what they needed to do. They ate up over 10 minutes of clock time on a 15-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a Nick Folk field goal. That put the Titans up 27-3 over Cincinnati and that was all she wrote.

Had the Bengals gone for it on 4th-and-3, maybe they don't convert and the Titans get the ball back. At least they would have tried though. Punting it back to Tennessee down 14 points made no sense, especially with the knowledge of the Titans getting the ball back to start the second half.

This is when the game really felt like it was over.

Offseason Decisions. Offseason Decisions That Already Look Like Disasters. dark. Next