Everyone hates to lose and I understand that. Rather than writing a post about how the season is doomed, I would rather look at the bright side. I would probably say I'm more optimistic about this team more than ever after Sundays game than I was before. Turnovers and penalties, or lack there of , were the reason for this loss. As long as those problems get eliminated and don't become on going problems through out the year, they will be fine. Not making any excuses for how the game went but here are my observations from the game.
Going into Sundays game against the Bears, I thought it was a tough game for the Bengals to go into. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Bears on offense. Having a new coach, that is known for offense and only some preseason and CFL tape to go by, I'm sure the Bengals weren't entirely sure what they would see either. In years past, it was a offense that relied on big plays down the field and a power running. What we got on Sunday was a lot of draws out of shotgun and quicker intermediate throws by Cutler. For the most part, the defense played a solid game. They started to give up some plays in the second half but the defensive line really struggled to get pressure. That was leaving the linebackers and safeties that struggle to cover, to cover even longer. Was very disappointed in the defensive line.
Penalties killed this team. I honestly thought a couple of the penalties should have been off setting because some of the Bears player were instigating some of the penalties. With that being said, you have to be smart and just walk away. People want to blame the coaches for players losing their tempers. They are paid like a pro so they should act like one. I think it will be a great coaching point for Marvin and company this week. I would be shocked if stupid penalties define this team the rest of the year, like it did Sunday. With that being said, the refs missed a huge call on the last Bears scoring drive. Peko got held ,clear as day ,on the 18 yard scramble by Cutler on that drive. Not to say if they do get that flag the Bears don't score but the down and distance would have been in favor of the defense, on what was the winning touchdown drive.
Dalton quietly played one of his better games as a pro. He had the offense moving the ball pretty much the whole game. The interceptions were on AJ in my opinion. He was in command of the offense. He was accurate on some very nice balls. He even pumped faked and looked off he safety twice on completions. It's early but he looks like a improved player that is ready to take the next step.
While Green had a fantastic game, his focus and concentration lapses continue from game to game.The first Dalton INT, Green could have ran a sharper route in front of Tillman instead of giving him a open lane to make a play.The dropped ball on Dalton's second INT, was all on Green. He also had a catch and run where he fumbled but luckily a Bears defender kicked it out of bounds. As much heat Kirkpatrick is taking for the penalty that he had to give the Bears a fg at the end of the half, Green had a hand in it too. The Bengals series ended on a punt because Green dropped a easy 5 yard catch that would have helped run the clock out. Gruden is getting a lot of heat for passing the ball on that series but a simple 5 yard pass to your best player should be as good as a run. Hard to knock a guy that made huge plays all day but if this team wants to get to where they want to go this year. They need their best player to play like a elite player on every play.
Lastly, I think Bernard should have been utilized more. The Bears defensive front played really well. Holes were closing quickly and Bernard could probably hit them way better than BJGE can. Also, it was surprising that they used Sanu more on the outside than the slot. He is at his best on crossing routes and making plays after the catch and they never tried to capitalize on that.
All in all, I thought despite the loss, the Bengals played well enough to beat a quality team on the road. Turnovers and penalties killed this team week 1. If they can get those areas cleaned up and don't let this team be defined by them, they should bounce back. I think if we don't have a barrage of turnovers, they will be capable of beating any team in this league. Despite the loss, I thought the play of Dalton and the offense as a whole was very good. Taylor Mays and Gresham should also get praised for their performances also.