Bengals Experience Huge Growth Spurt In 24-22 Loss To Denver

You could categorize Cincinnati's 24-22 to the Denver Broncos any number of ways. It's a loss and no matter what happens, a loss is a loss and we're bitter folk with acid for spit. Sure. There will be those fans that will bemoan the loss as if their own children were held back from the second grade (again), but will push aside those trivial memories of yesteryear to encourage them this time around. Then there are fans that will view this as the progress we had hoped for during a season in which this team is rebuilding. And finally, there are those of us that are kind of happy with the fact that we're far further along offensively then we had hoped for by this point in the season. It's not our place to dictate a point of view.

At the same time the loss does bring about one area of concern. Defensively this team was the most disappointing, allowing 24 points and 124 yards rushing. During four possessions, the Broncos offense posted 60 yards or more, all of which resulted in points. At one point the Bengals defense allowed Denver to convert five of eight third down opportunities. Not only that but Rey Maualuga had perhaps the most disappointing outing I've seen of him yet. The same knocks against him remain; misses tackles and takes horrible angles of pursuit. How many tackles should Maualuga have had in the backfield that resulted in losses, only to have ball carriers shed the tackles for gains? Nate Clements, at best, was unimpressive. The defensive line, save for a handful of impressive plays, wasn't very effective against the Broncos offensive line.

Yet these guys stepped up when they needed to. A Frostee Rucker batted ball forced Denver to punt. Two forced fumbles led to six points and the defense forced three straight three-and-out for the offense while the Bengals were only down by two points.

Even though we hate losing, as every fan in the world does, this loss does mark encouragement during a season in which this team was expected to rebuild. Who would have though that rookie quarterback Andy Dalton would post 332 yards passing in only his second career start? Who would have that rookie wide receiver A.J. Green would catch 10 passes for 124 yards receiving or that Green and Jerome Simpson would combine for 260 yards receiving in only the second game with a brand new offense implemented by a rookie offensive coordinator? 

There will be things for this offense to work on (such as converting only one of 11 third down opportunities) but right now this offense is growing and we saw a huge growth spurt on Sunday.

+ Impressive Second Half For Andy Dalton And His Receivers. Cincinnati's offense was severely disappointing in the first half, posting only 93 yards in the first half. But in the second half, the Bengals exploded with 14 first downs and nearly 290 yards of total offense. Most of that came from quarterback Andy Dalton and his duo of wide receivers in A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson.

After only 52 yards passing in the first half, Dalton completed 19 of 30 passes during the game's final two quarters for 280 yards passing and two touchdowns and a passer rating of 115.9. Wide receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson combined for 10 receptions for 228 yards receiving in the second half, with Green hauling in seven passes for 101 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Green and Simpson combined for 14 receptions and 260 yards receiving and a touchdown. Andre Caldwell scored the team's first touchdown in the third quarter.

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