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Rams vs Bengals Week 12 : The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

We take a look at the best and worst from the Cincinnati Bengals in their 31-7 demolition of the St. Louis Rams. While there was a lot to like in the team's performance, we still look at some of the weak spots in the win.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals had lost their past two consecutive games and looked to right the ship against a reeling St. Louis Rams team. As the opponent entered their home turf, they brought a bit of ammunition for the Bengals with them, as they subtly challenged Cincinnati's defensive unit earlier in the week.

There was little to dislike in the Bengals' 31-7 blowout of the Rams on Sunday, but it wasn't a perfect game, either. Is any game really? Once again in this weekly feature, we take a look at the best and worst from Cincinnati in Week 12.

The Good:

Andy Dalton: While the Bengals' signal-caller had one vintage "what the?" type of throw for an interception, he was largely pinpoint accurate and torched the Rams' secondary. He had three touchdown passes, 233 passing yards and just seven incompletions. He hit nine different receivers and made it seem like the offense wasn't going to take its foot off the gas all afternoon.

Jeremy Hill: Sometimes it's the small victories that you have to note of players in the NFL. Hill has been struggling in his second season, particularly in consistency and yards-per-carry. But, going up against a formidable Rams defensive line, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson opted to go right at the group with his big back. It paid off in the form of 86 rushing yards on 16 carries, a 5.4 yards per carry average, and the lovely sight of him getting carries to grind out the clock at the end of the game.

Great Dispersal of the Football...Again: Week by week, Dalton and Jackson continue to have the team live up to the billing of "the NFL's deepest roster". In terms of yardage, no one specifically dominated, but A.J. Green nabbed two nice touchdowns with 61 receiving yards. Tyler Eifert continued his tear through NFL defenses with his 12th touchdown catch of the year, while Marvin Jones had 55 all-purpose yards in a supporting role. Giovani Bernard had a huge gain on a screen pass, while Ryan Hewitt chipped in and Tyler Kroft had his first catch of the season.

The Defense: It was a solid day at the office at all levels of the defense. Pressure came up front, a sack was had, Geno Atkins dominated, and the linebackers stifled the running game. The secondary nabbed three interceptions from Nick Foles--one a Leon Hall pick-six and star rookie running back, Todd Gurley had just 19 yards rushing on nine attempts. No Rams receiver cracked the 65-yard mark, even though the Rams hurled the ball around often in garbage time.

The Offensive Line: It was a nice bounce-back performance from a group that had a rough go of it against Arizona last weekend. They paved the way for 140 team rushing yards and didn't allow a sack of Dalton. While they have achieved that feat previously this season, this was against a St. Louis team tied for fifth in the NFL with 30 sacks on the season. Kudos, big uglies.

Special Teams: While Hue Jackson and Vance Joseph are two Bengals' assistant coaches who get a lot of the praise, Darrin Simmons once again has his special teams unit playing at a high level. Mike Nugent was 4-of-4 on extra points and added a field goal, while Kevin Huber averaged almost 43 yards per kick, with one landing inside the Rams' 20-yard line. Brandon Tate was efficient with eight yards per return on punts, including a 13-yarder on two attempts.

Cleaning Up Penalties: Before their two losses, the Bengals didn't really have an issue with yellow laundry on the field. However, a combined 19 penalties against the Texans and Cardinals, contributed to them falling off of their undefeated perch. The Bengals had just three penalties on Sunday, helping to win the field position battle, sustain drives and dominate the Rams.

Playing Angry: One of the signs of a good team is to get off of the mat after a loss, be it expected or not. The Bengals experienced both types of L's the past two weeks and proved they were hungry for a win Sunday against the Rams. Also, as mentioned earlier, they took heed to some uncomplimentary words from St. Louis players during the week and the defense especially took it out on them.

The Bad:

Tavon Austin: While the Rams' offense was largely anemic and extremely vanilla on Sunday, Austin was their lone bright spot. The speedy wideout had six catches for 33 yards and a touchdown, along with 63 yards as a runner. His 60-yarder was a thing of beauty, as corner Dre Kirkpatrick was turned around often behind a blocking wide receiver. The run led to his eventual touchdown.

Offensive Inefficiencies: For how effective the Bengals were on offense Sunday, you wouldn't have figured as much with their 30 percent rating on third downs (3-for-10). They also were 65 percent (2-of-3) in the red zone, though they still managed a field goal there on the drive where a touchdown wasn't scored. I realize it's a little bit of a nitpick here, but against another team in a different venue, these numbers could have really hurt the Bengals.

The Ugly:

Tackling: Holy moly. For all of the good things the Bengals' defense did on the afternoon, tackling the ball-carrier at first contact was not one of them. Austin broke free from grasps, as did Gurley, making plays that could have been for losses turn into short gains, and what should have been short gains turn into larger ones. Fortunately, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther had a quality game plan to defend against St. Louis, otherwise the many missed tackles would have made this a much different football game.