It wasn't so much that the Cincinnati Bengals lost. The Vikings, after all, are a very good football team. But the way the Cincinnati Bengals looked while losing was bad. If there's a thing as a bad loss, this is it. Bunch of penalties. Bad passing offense. Underutilized rushing offense. A defense that looked great at times, but also allowed the Minnesota Vikings to score on five straight possessions. Not that we should blame them; after all, the Vikings never started a drive inside their own 20-yard line -- and started seven drives outside their own 30-yard line.
I called this a prove-we-belong game. Clearly, the Bengals don't belong right now. Adversity playing in a hostile Minnesota dome knocked the Bengals out, as did weak offensive line play, lack of focus from the skill players, terrible special teams from coverage units and Kevin Huber and another 2009 game in which Carson Palmer was, at best, very average.
After falling behind 16-7 at half time, the Bengals uninspiring offense was hit and miss. On their first drive of the second half, the Bengals went six plays, 19 yards, kicking a punt. On the next drive, they went 11 plays for 75 yards and a field goal. After that, three and out, punt. All the while the Minnesota Vikings went 60 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown on the second half opening possession before going three-and-out and on back-to-back drives which would end up being insurance points.
Cincinnati's offense, save for two drives, never found their rhythm. Defensively, the Bengals did what they could, even though they allowed scores on five straight possessions, thanks to great field position.
The Bengals take on the San Diego next week in California; a state that the Bengals have historically played terrible in.