Even the comments on this site slowed down in the third quarter as it became evident that Bengals were done, having nothing to offer the Steelers defense (or fans for that matter). The Bengals ran 23 plays, picking up 33 total yards between the second and third quarter. Watching Ryan Fitzpatrick was painful -- blame him or other factors if you will, his production was dreadful.
Between the two quarters, the Bengals called 11 more passes than rushes, a formula that has worked with Carson Palmer. Neither rushing nor efficient passing showed up between the second and third quarters, where the offense recorded one first down; compared to the Steelers 261 yards total and 13 first downs.
|Called Passes||Passing Yards||Called Rushes||Rushing Yards||Third Downs|
Admittedly, Fitzpatrick received no help on the play-calling because the rush offense went to lunch and it didn't seem beneficial to run the football, forcing Fitzpatrick to lead the offense; which he's not talented enough to do on his own.
|Chris Perry||Cedric Benson|
|2nd Quarter||2 - 0||2 - 9|
|3rd Quarter||0 - 0||1 - 1|
|2 - 0||3 - 10|
During this stretch, the Bengals recorded five three-and-outs and a four-play turnover on downs after the Bengals were given a gift from my newest buddy Limas Sweed.
The problem with the offense all season has been the inability to consistently sustain drives. Where they score a touchdown, the opposition responds and the Bengals offense goes into a three-and-out funk. There's several reasons, of which you can't fully blame Bob Bratkowski (though he deserves a large share of the blame). Ryan Fitzpatrick has been awfully disappointing, while some people keep talking up his improvements, he's still ineffective with an arm so weak that defenses are comfortable stacking the line of scrimmage neutralizing the rush offense. His reaction and release are very slow, allowing defenses to recover when our receivers have space, and his legs often prevents his eyes from looking downfield. Furthermore, the offense is so terrible that when they miss their opportunities (looking at you, Glenn Holt), they can't recover the impossible task of coming from behind.
Having quarters like the second and third against the Steelers Thursday night is exactly what kills the Bengals every week. Failure to convert third downs by not gaining yards on first and second are largely notable, considering that longer to-go situations on third down detail every problem facing this offense; ineffective quarterback, ineffective offensive line, ineffective play-calling. Injuries have hurt us, and it's very clear that the depth on this team, complicates the team's performance. Starters for every team get hurt and miss time. When the starters go down for the Bengals, the backups that come in are largely ineffective, accumulating to an embarrassing product that we continuously put on the field this season.