If you were to ask me one word to describe the Bengals performance this past Sunday, it would be "Unprepared." The offensive and defensive game plans were terrible. The players looked hesitant. And Marvin Lewis looked lost.
Sunday's performance against the Colts was nothing short of embarrassing
Terrence Newman called Sunday's loss "embarrassing." I am not sure that statement does the loss justice. Just let the stats sink in for a moment: 0 points. 135 total yards. 1-13 on third down conversions. 0-1 on fourth down conversions. 2/1 time of possession difference. 7.9 QBR. 47% completion percentage.
The sad part? Those stats don't even begin to tell the story of how bad the Bengals were on Sunday. What they are is eerily reminiscent of the Bungles decade. At one point, I looked in my driveway for the DeLorean that must have taken me back to the 1990's.
I can't remember a game where the team, as a whole, has looked so poor, and I remember all of the 1990's and early 2000's.
Marvin Lewis's teams continue to wilt when expectations are high
We talk about it all the time, but when expectations are highest, Marvin's teams seem to fold. We all know about his struggles in the playoffs and on primetime, but in seasons (and games) where expectations are high, Marvin has a track record of underperforming.
The Bengals, as a whole, had their heads up their a#$es all game and never pulled them out
From coach, to coordinators, to quarterback to defense, etc. etc. etc. Not much to explain here. Just an observation.
Andy Dalton is lucky he didn't get another offensive weapon injured - most notably Giovani Bernard
Dalton did not get help from his wide receivers (welcome back Greg Little), but he did not play well. Four throws stuck out to me. 1) On the Bengals first offensive play of the game, the Bengals set up the TE screen to Gresham. The Colts had it played perfectly and rather than throw the ball into the ground, Dalton forced it to Gresham for a five yard loss. Drive over.
2 and 3) On back to back drives, Dalton tried to set the screen up, this time to Bernard. On both occasions the Colts again had it played perfectly, and again, rather than throw the ball into the ground, Dalton unloaded it, this time to Bernard, and nearly got him killed. If Bernard went to the sidelines and punched Dalton in the face, he would have been perfectly justified.
4) Down 24-0 in the fourth quarter, the game was likely out of reach, but the Bengals had a fourth and goal from the four and Dalton threw a pass to Gresham coming across the middle. The only problem was Gresham was double (maybe even triple) covered and was two yards short of the goal line. It was the first poor game in 2014 for Dalton, but it was a really bad one.
The Bengals lack a leader
Teams with a true leader don't have games like that. They just don't. Especially not two weeks after having a similarly terrible performance.
Hue Jackson brought a terrible game plan to Lucas Oil Stadium...and forgot to throw it out at half
I don't have confirmation of this, but I have to think Hue Jackson spent last week on a beach somewhere not watching a single play of the Colts defense. He couldn't have scouted a mediocre defense (at best) and come out with that game plan.
The Bengals couldn't block, they couldn't run and they couldn't pass. Apparently Hue Jackson was the only person in the building who did not realize the screens weren't working. Like Dalton, this was the first poor game for Hue, but like Dalton, it was a bad one.
Paul Guenther is losing my confidence
After three games and an impressive 11.0 PPG, Guenther and his defense were getting a lot of praise, including high praise from yours truly. In the three weeks since, Guenther's defense has surrendered 34.7 PPG and looked completely unprepared and overmatched - and in two of those games (New England and Carolina), they played suspect offenses. The Bengals have a lot of injuries on defense, but that does not excuse the effort they have put forth the last three weeks.
Vontaze Burfict does not know how to tackle - and it is hurting him and the Bengals
Vontaze Burfict is one of the best linebackers in the game, so it sounds silly to say he doesn't know how to tackle, but he doesn't. He knows how to hit and he knows how to get a guy to the ground, but he doesn't know how to tackle. Watch the play where Burfict got hurt.
Rather than put his helmet across Luck's body - as every player is taught from pee wee on - he turns his head back to the left at an awkward angle intentionally hitting Luck in the sternum with the crown of his helmet. This, my friends, is a good way to get a concussion or break a neck (ask David Pollack). The Bengals have played 6 games and Burfict has missed two of those games with a concussion and left every other game for head/neck injuries.
In fact, of the 24 quarters the Bengals have played, Burfict has played just 8. Burfict is the heart of the defense, sets the tone and calls the plays and when he is out, the defense suffers. It is like the offense missing the quarterback. Burfict needs to change his ways not only for his own health, but for the health of the Bengals defense.
Vontaze Burfict will be out of the league before his new contract expires if he doesn't change his ways
If Burfict keeps playing and hitting the way he currently plays and hits, he will be out of the league before he is eligible for a new contract - either because of injuries he inflicts upon himself or for suspensions levied on him for his hits. In 8 quarters of play, Burfict has suffered two concussions (that we know of), left one game for a head injury and left one game with a "neck" injury.
At this rate, he won't finish this season and for a guy whose job requires violent collisions, a history of head injuries is very worrisome. As for the suspensions, believe me, at some point the league is going to start suspending Burfict. Ed Reed got a suspension and he was far less an offender than Vontaze Burfict. Either way, whether he is out for health or out for a suspension, it hurts the Bengals.
At 3-2-1, the Bengals are in trouble
If the playoffs started today, the Bengals would be watching from home, and currently, it looks like that is where they deserve to be when the playoffs start. Despite beating Baltimore in week one, the Bengals now find themselves 1.5 games back.
The Bengals are in trouble this week
If the Bengals from weeks 1-3 show up this weekend, the Bengals could blow out the Ravens. If the Bengals from weeks 5-7 show up, the Ravens will blow out the Bengals. If that were to happen, the Bengals chances at the division would be nearly shot.
Kevin Huber is a very good punter
The only player that apparently came prepared on Sunday was Kevin Huber. His 11 punts set a franchise record and the punts were good. Huber had a long punt of 63 yards and averaged a whopping 50.7 yards. Huber's 44.5 NET has him ranked third in the NFL.
Andrew Luck is good
Not sure this was ever in question going into the game, but if it was, it shouldn't be anymore. Luck showed exactly why he was the number one overall pick and why he deserves to be in the conversation with the best quarterbacks in the NFL.