Plenty of blame to go around after the loss to the Houston Texans last Saturday, eh? Midway through this season, we here at Cincy Jungle decided to honor the players who made the biggest and/or most blunders during the team's loss. Though most fans have pointed at offensive coordinator Jay Gruden during the blame game, we don't normally nominate coaches for the weekly awards that we divvy out.
The player on any team that gets and receives more blame than they often deserve is the quarterback. Andy Dalton struggled again in his second playoff appearance against a familiar foe. Dalton only threw for 127 yards and an interception and didn't have any touchdowns. He was rattled all day to the tune of at 47% completion percentage and a 44.7 quarterback rating for the game. The Bengals didn't need Dalton to be exceptional in the game, but a solid performance would have likely brought the Bengals their first playoff victory since 1991.
On defense, Rey Maualuga was exposed as a liability--something that you don't want to say about your middle linebacker. He performed poorly against the pass and had a number of missed tackles on the day. If the performance against the Texans was his Swan Song in Cincinnati, it wasn't a great one. It's currently unclear if the Bengals will look to bring back Maualuga this offseason to be their middle linebacker in 2013 and beyond.
Ultimately, we have to flash a scornful look at Jermaine Gresham. Though the third year tight end had a solid 2012 campaign, he had a miserable performance on Saturday against Houston. The worst part about his performance was that Gresham knew that he was going to be the focal point of the Bengals' offensive attack on the day and still didn't come through. His day started miserably on the Bengals' first possession of the day with a drop that would have converted a big, early first down.
Who "got your goat" during the Bengals' loss in the Wild Card game against the Texans?