Bengals News, Notes and Quotes: Frustration With Bengals Offense And Third Downs

Scott Halleran

We take a look at a collection of stories around the web and quotes from the team.

+ Doug Farrar with Yahoo! Sports reacts to Andy Dalton's performance Saturday afternoon against the Houston Texans. In our opinion they're legitimate perspectives, many housed by Bengals fans.

The Bengals want to build their team with Dalton as much as they do around a talented, aggressive defense. But two years in, it's safe to say that Dalton rarely presents himself as the kind of quarterback one can build a franchise around. At his best, he's a game manager you don't have to worry about, and at his worst, he's prone to the kind of mistakes that have people trying to run Mark Sanchez out of New York.

While it's possible that Dalton will improve over time, the Bengals may have to accept -- if they haven't already -- that they have a try-hard quarterback of limited physical abilities. In a modern NFL that is predicated more and more on the passing game, especially in key situations, that leaves them with a precarious margin for error.

+ Pete Prisco with CBSSports.com, who had been on the Bengals bandwagon since training camp, writes:

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was horrible. So was the Bengals' play calling, for that matter. They didn't throw one pass to A.J. Green in the first half. I don't care how much coverage is rolled his way, they have to take a shot to him.

Dalton finished with 127 passing yards and a passer rating of 44.7. Green had five catches for 80 yards in the second half, and Dalton missed him on a sure touchdown pass late in the game that would have put the Bengals ahead.

+ Gregg Rosenthal with NFL.com headlines that Dalton "raises concerns" for the Bengals.

Dalton's 127-yard, one-interception performance in the team's 19-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday was not a huge surprise to anyone that's watched him over the second half of the season. The Bengals were winning despite Dalton, and his struggles have to concern the organization long-term.

It's not a question of whether Dalton is any good. It's obvious he's capable. It's whether he has the potential to be great. He has limitations as a thrower and struggled with accuracy. It was discouraging to see him truly take a step back in his second season mentally. He often seemed hesitant to make a throw, even when it was there. Too many passes went out of bounds. The game hasn't slowed down for him.

+ Safety Chris Crocker, who was out with an injury, joined the chorus of those frustrated by the Cincinnati Bengals offense.

"Yeah, it was one of those days, just can’t get anything on our offense and we have to score more points on defense I guess," said Crocker. "Leon came through for us but you know you can’t win ball games like this if you can’t you know win the time of possession, you can’t stop people from running the ball and those are the things that really, really bit us in the butts today."

+ According to Elias, Houston's defense is the first since the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals squad to hold the opposing offense from converting a third down conversion in a postseason game. Also Arian Foster generated 140 yards rushing on 32 carries Saturday, becoming the first running back in NFL history to run for over 100 yards in each of his first three postseason games. According to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Bengals, it was the first time the Bengals offense failed to convert a third down since Week 4 in 2007 against the New England Patriots.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis after the game about third downs.

"I think defensively it’s kind of the same thing with the third downs," said Lewis. "I think that was basically the key to the football game. We got some second and, situations manageable on offense and we’d have a negative play and put ourselves in third-and-longer situations. That really hurt us in the first half of the game. Kind of rectified it a little bit in the second half, but still the third down conversion rate was the key to the football game. Their ability to convert and get themselves in the third-and-two and threes, and convert most of them until we got them and stopped them for field goals most of the time."

Quarterback Andy Dalton agreed with Lewis' assessment about the third downs.

"Well we were getting into third and long situations and we weren’t converting," said Dalton. "Third downs, we weren’t keeping drives alive and because of that we didn’t have the ball very much. They had the ball, I don’t know what the time of possession was, but they controlled that by a lot. We weren’t doing enough. We were getting into second down, then we had a couple plays where we were using yards, third-and-long situations make it tough to convert and that is where we struggled."

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