Bengals return to basics with tackling

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Lewis wasn't happy. Neither was Mike Zimmer. Nor the entire defense. So the Bengals returned to basics this week to avoid the missed tackles that plagued them in the second half against the Colts.

It might not compare to Chris Crocker's attempt to tackle Arian Foster in the '11 wild card game in terms of notoriety, but when six Bengals missed tackles during one touchdown and another pair of missed stops during another, you knew that Cincinnati's defense was off their game in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Mike Zimmer spoke to his defense on Monday.

Instead of a typical week to review all of the previous game's plays, Mike Zimmer pieced together eight plays for the defense to review, writes Coley Harvey with ESPN.

Only, those eight plays weren't a highlight reel of well-executed stunts and blitzes. They didn't feature any forced turnovers or recovered, either. They were eight plays that told a story of ineptitude the likes of which the Bengals' defense had rarely seen all season. Mostly, the plays featured missed tackles from when the 42-28 win was well in hand. On two of them, defenders were seen grabbing at air and softly driving forearms and shoulders into pass-catchers who managed to eventually find the end zone.

Asked to rank Zimmer's anger on a scale from 1 to 100, safety Reggie Nelson replied: "It was off the charts."

Despite Lewis saying that he already planned it, the Bengals were in full pads on Wednesday.

"We lost a little bit of [our edge] during the second half last week, so we've got to get it back," head coach Marvin Lewis said via ESPN. "That's an important thing; to understand that when you have a game in control, keep control of it. That needs to transcend the group."

And lessons were learned this week.

"We take a big emphasis on tackling," Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict said via ESPN. "Especially me, I hate missing tackles. I think I missed two tackles last game. For me, I realized I need to bend my knees more in practice or wrap up in practice."

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