You love him or you proudly display complete indifference -- because indifference is the soul of enlightenment. That's like everything else in life though... right, Sony? If you take a position that generally devolves into an incendiary presentation, you're viewed as fanatic (in the arena of sports, despite the previous mention) whereas if you don't, you're an egotistical know-it-all. Of course that's not true. You can take a position and STILL be an egotistical know-it-all (I do it all the time). But the narrative also delves into the psyche of Bengals fans. Want to know how different the Andy Dalton perspective is?
Look at Marvin Lewis' comment from Thursday's press conference when he was asked about the team's primetime issues. "The other team’s quarterback has played better," Lewis begins. This question/answer was asked after Lewis deflected any primetime issues earlier in his press conference.
Many will instinctually apply Lewis' statement as a direct comparison to his own quarterback. Andy "small arms" Dalton. The other quarterback is playing better than my quarterback. Hey... it ACTUALLY makes sense because the other quarterback generally IS playing better than Andy Dalton.
That wasn't the intention though and the interpretation isn't leveled at Dalton. It's the defense. Sentence No. 2 on that comment... "We haven't had any effect on the other team’s quarterback," Lewis continues. "Their rating has been about 100, and that’s huge."
Per the mothership.
The opposing No. 1 quarterbacks have pumped up a 92.7 rating in prime time against them, but it’s not like they've been strafed through the air with eight TD passes in the eight games, although they have just four picks.
Iloka chose to look at the run defense as he reviewed the 43-17 loss to the Patriots on Oct. 5 on Sunday night and the 24-3 loss to the Browns on Nov. 6. They gave up 220 yards on the ground in New England and 170 more at home against Cleveland with Iloka disputing they came out flat.
"I would never say we came out flat. I would say that we just didn’t stop the run. One thing that can demoralize a team real quick is not stopping the run, because that’s like you're getting physically punished and beat up," Iloka said. "That can make you turn flat or lose your spirit. I don't think any of us came out flat. The common denominator was that we didn’t stop the run, and that can take our spirit away as a defense.
Of course Dalton has rotted away in these games -- well, except the Sunday Night game against New England where he posted his third-best passer rating this year. The 2.0 passer rating against Cleveland (on Thursday Night Football) was obviously a disaster. Before that was the Miami Dolphins loss (Halloween night on Thursday Night) when Dalton threw three interceptions and generated a passer rating of 55.4.
Here's a breakdown:
REVISED: Dalton's postseason and primetime performances. pic.twitter.com/KTayyKc0jA— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 20, 2014
To be fair, the defensive performances on primetime/postseason: pic.twitter.com/ENR9mkV8PT— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 20, 2014
OK, the comparison applies to other quarterbacks that Cincinnati has faced. They're playing better under the lights rather than the typical 1 p.m. start times and Lewis applies that to a disappointing performance on defense. Yet, the offense isn't without their faults. They've been just as much of a liability as anyone.
"We've turned the football over, we've given up plays in other parts of the game that have hurt us in those games. That makes a huge difference. So we haven't done a very good job of defending the other team’s quarterback, we haven't made enough plays effectively on offense, we haven’t been very good on third down in some of those games, and they make a big difference."
That sum it up about right?
The week in review:
+ The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns in an epic performance that highlighted all three phases of the game... from the running game on offense, the attack mode on defense and efficiency on special teams. Sunday's win humorously knocked "analyst" sideways. Before the game, there was significant Johnny Manziel affection. After the game, people were wondering if he even belonged in the NFL (or how long the Browns should wait before pulling him). The win pushed Cincinnati's record to 9-4-1 and significantly inflated Brian Hoyer's ego.
+ Head coach Marvin Lewis handed out two game balls on Sunday to offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and placekicker Mike Nugent, both of whom lost their fathers this week.
BENGALS v BROWNS: Bengals play of the Game against the Browns | Checklist on five keys to Bengals win | Bengals week 15 MVP award | The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | PFF Scores | Unsung Hero of the Week | What We Learned |
BENGALS v BRONCOS: Week 16 primer: Bengals and Broncos | Is there any confidence with the Bengals this Monday? | Marvin Lewis on the primetime struggles | The narrative is that the Bengals suck in primetime |
+ Following the game, Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham confronted Dave Lapham while the latter was interviewing Marvin Lewis following Cincinnati's win on Sunday. Gresham believed that Lapham called him out on the radio during the pregame show.
Here's where everything broke down.
After suffering a toe injury (believed to be on Thursday), Gresham sat during Friday's practice and was listed as questionable... he was really a game-time decision. The team worked out Gresham Sunday morning and the tight end was listed as inactive for Cleveland. According to a Fox Sports report that cited an internal source, the team was surprised that Gresham couldn't go after he "looked great running around."
The media just dropped it and Gresham, who has practiced this week leading up to the Broncos, doesn't have anything debilitating. He should play on Monday.
+ Linebackers Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring) and Vincent Rey (head) left the game with injuries -- the team announced that Rey passed concussion protocols around the two minute warning. Lamur, along with wide receiver James Wright, appear unlikely this Monday against the Denver Broncos.
+ Speaking of Rey, he was nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
+ There's lots of Jeremy Hill love going around after the rookie posted 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hill won the AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. He was also nominated for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week, which went to Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham.
+ Week 16 NFL playoff scenarios.
+ Week 16 Power Rankings.
+ The Bengals worked out former Cowboys linebacker Victor Butler this week.
+ Most of Cincinnati's 2015 opponents are already known... save for two.