(Editor's note: This is the first installment of what we plan to make a weekly feature. Basically, the idea is to point out Bengals players who really blew it in the previous game. Unlike the other features where we name an ultimate winner, we will let the fans decide this one. Enjoy.)
As it unfortunately goes with the Cincinnati Bengals, pointing out players who really blew it on Sunday becomes pretty easy. Given that the team is currently on a four-game skid, this should provide quite the sounding board for fans to rant and vent. We don't really like to point out individuals to place blame on in a team sport, but in football there are a handful of key moments that dictate the outcome of the matchup. Sometimes those key moments are laid at the feet of a short list of guys.
The most obvious guy to look at sometimes is the kicker. Mike Nugent has had another solid year so far, but he missed a critical kick right before halftime. It put the Bengals in a bad position on the scoreboard and with their own morale heading into the locker room and they never fully recovered from it. He did make an interesting onside kick attempt towards the end of the game that was unsuccessful as week. But, one could also make the argument that it is hard to hate on a guy that contributed 11 points. It was just those three he didn't get that were huge.
The next place we saw as a guilty party was the defensive line. While they were great against the run on Sunday afternoon, they didn't get a sniff on Peyton Manning all day. Even though Manning threw two picks, those were more a product of Terence Newman jumping routes than pressure forcing bad throws. When you play No.18, you have to get pressure and the Bengals didn't on Sunday. They could have used big days from Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and/or Michael Johnson, but they didn't get them.
There were three offensive linemen that had tough days as well. Andrew Whitworth and Jeff Faine were guilty of multiple penalties and still couldn't get the running game going. The shame with the penalties from Faine and Whitworth was the timing of them. Their respective gaffes killed a critical drive late in the game. Andre Smith was victimized by Von Miller all day and the Broncos' stud edge rusher had his best day as a pro, registering four sacks. What once was looked at as a top unit, the group has been showing some dings in the armor of late.
Who gets your vote for the Cincy Jungle "Goat of the Week"?