A.J. Green had a big day but could have played better
For all the stats that A.J. Green put up on Sunday and the fact that he exploited Chicago's secondary so easily was awesome. However, I place the fault of both interceptions on him. Now, the first one is a bang bang play that is timing and execution. However, the receiver MUST get inside position on that route. If they don't it is probably an interception. Green didn't and the Bengals gifted the Bears excellent field position. The second was a drop. Many people try and pin the interceptions on Dalton, but when your star and first read is open and you hit your guy in the hands, he makes that play. Look, mistakes happen and I will argue Green more than made up for it, but the blame should not be on Dalton.
You can not mismanage timeouts so poorly in a game.
One common theme for the Bengals in the Marvin Lewis era is the mismanagement of timeouts. The Bengals followed through once again on Sunday. The Bengals burned two timeouts in the span of one play and it came back to bite them. Andy Dalton commented on the timeout issue:
"We would have liked to have the timeout, but we didn't. You have to make sure you're sharp, and you don't have any miscommunications, and you kind of have to go from there. But, it's a situation you don't want to be in at the end of the game."
If the Bengals had their timeouts at the end of the game there would have been a different approach to the play calling. It felt panicked and the result was poor execution.
Questionable defense on Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall was huge for the Bears. Many times during the game it seemed the Bengals were content with having him covered by a linebacker with some safety help. Marshall is one of the premiere receivers in the game and either this was terrific alignment by the Bears or poor recognition / scheme from the Bengals. I think it is a little of both. Marshall also shared the sentiment:
"I didn't understand it. Fourth quarter, with a safety on me one-one, I can only ask for that and dream about that," Marshall said. "I tried to sell the inside route. He jumped it a little bit and we had a clear lane."
Vontaze Burfict is the leader of this defense.
Once again Burfict led the team in tackles. He recorded an interception in which he was hurt on the play. He continued to play and was very vocal in leading the defense. On the field it was obvious he was a force. Off the field he is quoted as saying:
"I feel like we folded a little bit. They had what, 97 yards at half? I feel like we folded a little bit. All of our leaders have to get in the film room tomorrow and have a chat without the coaches in there. How can we prevent this."
That is a team leader. It is what Bengals fans have hoped to hear from Rey Maualuga but he never stepped into that role. Combine that with the moronic penalty from Rey to end the game and there is no doubt who is the vocal leader of this unit.
Anthony Collins is our MVB
It may be a stretch to call him our most valuable backup after one game, but what he accomplished yesterday was amazing. As Josh noted earlier, Julius Peppers is an outstanding pass rusher. Collins kept him off the stat sheet. No tackles, no hurries, no rushes, no problems. Peppers would have been a worry had Andrew Whitworth been able to play. The fact that Collins silently went about his business and shut him down is a testament to how good of a player he is and how valuable he is to the Bengals as a fill in on the line.