If you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan, you’ve seen this all before: A team that was unprepared and couldn’t take advantage of another team’s mistakes. Since 2003, this has been the story of every Bengals season; as a fan, you just sit back and wait to see what new way the will find to lose a game. The game started with the Giants walking straight down the field and scoring. The Bengals came back and scored right away and you think, “All right, this will be a shootout.”
The Bengals defense, led by the pass rush of Geno Atkins, stepped up and pressured Eli Manning for most of the rest of the second half. Suddenly the Bengals defense looked good. Of course, with the Bengals being the Bengals, they suddenly couldn’t move the ball. Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted a pass and returned it inside the 10-yard line. From there the Bengals went three-and-out with some very questionable play calling.
At the end of the half with only one timeout left, the Bengals for some reason played it safe and settled for throwing a Hail Mary pass at the end of the half. So at halftime, the Bengals trailed 14-10.
Alex Erickson started out the second half with a huge punt return that the Bengals took advantage of to get out to a 17-14 lead. The rest of the game was a microcosm of the Bengals season, with bad offensive play-calling and generally just bad defense. Outside of Vontaze Burfict nobody on this team seems to be able to tackle. Once again, the Bengals were killed by penalties, but what was most concerning was the team did not look prepared to play. And the worst thing about all this is the fact they were coming off a BYE WEEK!
To make matters worse, the Giants finished the game off by running the ball — The Giants have maybe the worst rushing attack in the NFL!
Yes, the Bengals are only a game and a half out of first place, but do they really have a chance to make the playoffs for the sixth straight year? I say no, this season is done. You cannot be a playoff team when you can’t tackle, get stupid penalties, turn the ball over and generally play undisciplined as a team.
I watched Trent Dilfer on the ESPN pregame show state that the Bengals had maybe the most talented roster in the NFL. He’s crazy: Last week, the Bengals lost one of the best safeties in football in Reggie Nelson, plus starting right tackle Andre Smith and two huge offensive weapons in Muhammad Sanu and Marvin Jones. In the end, the problem is not losing players. The problem is not being able to replace them.
The replacements for these guys have been lacking, to say the least. Nelson has been replaced by Shawn Williams, who seems to almost always be out of place. Sanu and Jones have been replaced by Tyler Boyd, a rookie that has done next to nothing, and Brandon Lafell, who runs bad routes and often jogs through his route. I didn’t think that Andre Smith was very good, until I saw his replacement, Cedric Ogbuehi. Oghuehi’s ability to kick step is non-existent, his hands are bad and he generally plays soft.
Let’s face the fact: The Bengals don’t stop the run, they can’t defend the pass and the offensive line is atrocious. All of this leads me to the conclusion that this is nowhere near a playoff team. In the end, this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Marvin Lewis, but, as we all know, nothing will ever change as long as Mike Brown is the owner.