This game should be stricken from the NFL record books, but alas, it happened, and Cincinnati tied Washington, 27-27 in London, the first American football tie London has ever seen.
It was probably one of the worst NFL games overall this season, and unfortunately, the Bengals were part of it. Here’s a look at out winners and losers, of which we struggled to find the former of.
The long-awaited return of Tyler Eifert came in Week 7, but the real return came in London. After Eifert played in just 15 snaps and caught one pass for nine yards last week, Eifert was expected to get a lot more work vs Washington, so much so that the Bengals actually made C.J. Uzomah inactive.
Eifert responded by playing the majority of the game and and caught his first touchdown of the season. At this point, if Eifert had just played 30+ snaps and caught a few passes, his stock would have increased.
But Eifert reminded everyone in this game that he dramatically changes the Bengals offense, enough that it’s now becoming a unit that opposing defenses will fear going forward.
The ground game
The Bengals offense showed a lot of promise vs Washington, especially when it came on the ground. After running for 271 yards and two scores last week vs Cleveland, Cincinnati gashed Washington for 152 yards and three scores on 36 carries.
Jeremy Hill finished with 76 yards and one score on 20 carries. Giovani Bernard added 52 yards and one score on 11 carries to go with one catch for 14 yards. It’s clear the Bengals’ ground game is back after it was dormant for much of the first six games.
As mentioned above, the Bengals were so confident in what Eifert would give them that they made Uzomah inactive. I was one of Uzomah’s biggest critics last year, but the jump he’s made in Year 2 has quietly been one of the best any Bengal has made.
While Uzomah doesn’t offer much as a pass-catcher, his blocking on the edge has helped spring a lot of big runs this season. He’s developing into the kind of blocking tight end the Bengals envisioned of him, and he’s more than rewarded them for spending a fifth-round pick on him in 2015.
That’s why it was surprising to see Uzomah inactive for this game. Then again, how much value does a blocking tight end have in today’s NFL? Uzomah got a sobering reminder in this game.
This was another game to forget for Mike Nugent, and it’s now getting to the point where each game could be his last in stripes. Against Washington, Nugent missed a 51-yard field goal and an extra point. He came dangerously close to missing another PAT as he clearly is losing confidence in himself, which makes you wonder how much faith the Bengals have in him.
With the bye week here, expect the Bengals to, at the very least, work out some free agent kickers and see if they might part ways with Nugent.
The Bengals’ defense has no excuse to be as bad as they’ve been over the first eight games, nor do they have any excuse for the performance they had vs Washington. It was mostly against the pass as the mighty Kirk Cousins looked like Peyton Manning in his prime, against a secondary that continues to make far too many mistakes.
Adding to it was a host of horrible penalties, most of which being by the secondary. Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard both continue to look like first-round misses, and it’s really hurting this unit, which is struggling enough as it is.
Even with the struggles, time and time again, the Bengals’ defense had chances to put this game away, but continuously failed to do so. This unit has failed, and it’s a big reason why this team is 3-4-1.