After jumping out to an early three-touchdown lead, the Cincinnati Bengals shocked absolutely nobody by losing in the end. Phillip Rivers, the Indianapolis Colts’ artifact of a QB, toasted the Bengals for 371 yards and three touchdowns as he helped Indy storm back in the back half of the second quarter, take the lead in the fourth and wound up holding on after a late Joe Burrow pick. Here’s how it happened:
It was a brilliant start for Cincy.
A fumble on a screen for Indianapolis led to a Giovanni Bernard touchdown a few plays later. Next, a three-and-out for the Colts followed by a Joe Burrow QB sneak on fourth-and-one that made it into the end zone to cap off a 12-play, 78-yard drive. Then, it was another three-and-out for Indy and a Bengals touchdown four plays later, this time courtesy of a 67-yard catch by Tee Higgins, followed quickly by a seven-yard Joe Mixon touchdown run.
We could end the summary here and I’d be fine with it. From there, the Colts responded with a touchdown, Cincy came back with a field goal and Indy scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter, one coming during the Bengals’ favorite time to give away points: less than two minutes to go in the first half. Once a 21-0 advantage, at the half it was 24-21. That’s losing football.
More losing football.
Bengals mustered just three points, allowed 10 to the Colts and turned it over to end the game right after a huge fourth-down catch by AJ Green. Just sucks, man. That’s all I’ve got for those 30 minutes.
Of the two orange vs. blue football games I watched this weekend, I’m just happy only one of them ended in miserable frustration and aching agony. Usually, it’s both.
I guess if we go hunting for silver linings, we have to mention that Joe Burrow continued to prove his worth as April’s top pick. He tossed the ball 39 times, completing 25 of them for 313 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdown. After spending three hours looking like the star of Life Alert ads against Baltimore, Joe Burrow had time to throw for the most part and the offensive line turned in a better performance than last week (as if it was possible to do worse). Burrow also connected with Tee Higgins for the Bengals longest play since 2017 on a 67-yard bomb to set up the Mixon score.
The last rookie checkpoint — aside from actually winning football games — for Joe Burrow was opening up the deep ball. Finally, they nailed one. Hopefully, it opens up the floodgates.
The collapse itself can’t necessarily be blamed on any particular player(s) or position group, rather a lazy end-0f-half defensive effort, a total blown-tire second half of offense and the bone-headed, sloppy coaching that’s become a staple of Cincinnati pro sports franchises.
The Bengals invent new ways to lose — sorry, or tie — close games. They get the crap kicked out of them by more talented teams. And they only beat the bad ones.
The Bengals themselves are not a terrible football team. I would say the opposite about the coaching staff, who botched the most important decision of the day.
Fourth-quarter: 30-yard line, fourth-and-one, Bengals down one point, 28-27. They kicked the field goal here. Statistically speaking, the Bengals are more likely to get one yard than Bullock is to make a 48-yarder. Plus, you have the opportunity to score even more if you convert the fourth down.
Taking a step back and looking at this game and the season as a whole, I’d still ask: could Zac Taylor have done any worse since becoming Cincinnati’s head coach? 3-18-1. There aren’t many good excuses. The defense has the best safety in football in Jessie Bates, several quality cornerbacks, versatility at linebacker, and the three most expensive players on the team on the D-line.
On offense, throw in number one pick Joe Burrow, 2019 AFC rushing leader Joe Mixon, star Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, a few other playmakers and that should be a decent football team. The offensive line is a mess, sure, and the talent isn’t there and past draft picks have flopped; but Taylor is not off the hook for it.
The season isn’t looking good, but maybe we can get the rumors going on a new coach?