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Five False Starts In Two Games: Breaking Down Cincinnati's Penalties

“We’ve got to do a better job of scoring in the red zone. We had a lot of opportunities, and we’re moving in a lot of pieces (in terms of personnel),” Lewis said. “We’ve got to take a look at how we might be killing our own rhythm with a lot of the moving parts we’ve got going on now. I think guys will get better with it as we go, but it can be a little bit unnerving, to me at least, and I’m sure everyone else.”

- Marvin Lewis 9.21.2010

That's two parts of two problems facing the offense. Penalties and the Red Zone offense.

If one thing that can be taken from Cincinnati's 14-point loss to the New England Patriots is that the Bengals only committed two fouls, Michael Johnson's illegal touch kick and Dennis Roland's false start. Does it show incredible discipline? Maybe not so much. The Bengals were tentative with complex calls that forced Cincinnati's defensive players to be less reactive, thinking of their check downs with the offense facing New England's version of a prevent-like defense. Against Baltimore, the Bengals appeared more aggressive on defense while the offense did everything they could to stay afloat. Then again, comparing New England's offense with Baltimore is like comparing Miranda Kerr to Susan Boyle.

Cincinnati's 11 penalties ranks 17th in the NFL, averaging 5.5 yards lost per penalty.

Player Count Penalties Yards
Robert Geathers 2 Defensive Offsides (2) 10
Dennis Roland 2 False Start (2) 10
Chad Ochocinco 1 False Start 5
Andrew Whitworth 1 False Start 5
Carson Palmer 1 Intentional Grounding 11
Kyle Cook 1 Offensive Holding 10
Nate Livings 1 False Start 5
Michael Johnson 1 Illegal Touch Kick 0
(unknown) 1 Illegal Substitution 5