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Bengals surmount massive penalties to beat Chiefs

The Bengals had a number of big penalties against the Chiefs on Sunday, but they were able to overcome them for a 36-21 win. Will the trend continue?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A 4-0 start has Bengaldom feeling quite good as the calendar just hit October. Such a start hasn't been seen in a decade when a quarterback named Carson Palmer led Cincinnati to their first division title in almost two decades. Yet, even despite the great start in 2015, perfectionists will point to certain improvement areas in order for the orange and black to make it to the Super Bowl.

One such area that has plagued the team the past two weeks has to do with yellow laundry. After giving up more than a full football field's worth of yards on 13 penalties last week against the Ravens, they followed it up with a similar (non-)effort on Sunday afternoon against Kansas City.

Pointing to a talented roster, the Bengals were still able to defeat the Chiefs by more than two touchdowns. After the foul fiesta in Baltimore last week, Cincinnati followed it up with another 11 penalties for 84 yards against Kansas City.

No facet was immune to the hankies, whether it was the offensive line, secondary or special teams players. Josh Shaw, the promising fourth round rookie, had an increase of time with George Iloka sitting out with an ankle injury and an in-game injury causing Adam Jones to leave the game. Shaw had a major hold on a punt return.

Perhaps the most egregious stretch of issues was late in the third quarter against left guard Kevin Zeitler. With the Bengals clinging to a 14-12 lead, they began the drive by moving backward. Zeitler had two consecutive holding calls to force a 2nd and 20 and later in the drive, Marvin Jones had a false start.

But, as good teams tend to do, the Bengals overcame the penalties for a win. Zeitler had a bad couple of plays, as did Jones (false start and dropped long ball), but Andy Dalton was able to hit Brandon Tate for an improbable 55-yard touchdown to remedy the issues.

The Bengals' offensive line had some issues throughout the day, aside from Zeitler. Andre Smith had a false start and subsequently allowed a pressure, while Andrew Whitworth was also tagged with a hold on a downfield play. Even so, the group didn't allow a sack against the exciting Chiefs duo of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, again paving the way for a big afternoon from Andy Dalton.

The first thing to note is the overcoming of the penalty issues the past two weeks by the Bengals. Even though they've combined for 24 in the past two games, Marvin Lewis' squad has been able to put the mistakes past them to secure the win regardless. While penalties are a sign of an undisciplined team, the ability to move on and make huge plays afterward also point to a major amount of talent.

Another thing to note is the poor officiating throughout the first calendar month of the NFL season. Adam Schefter of ESPN noted that the league is on a record-setting pace for penalties in NFL history, and if you've watched the past two weeks of Bengals football, you will have noticed that trend to be true.

With the Bengals entering a tough stretch of games, including matchups against Seattle, Pittsburgh and others, Cincinnati can ill-afford more double-digit penalty games. Even if those issues continue, it doesn't mean the Bengals are out of the contest though, as exemplified by the past two weeks.