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The Nati Notes NFL Week 5: Red zone struggles, bad calls and hot seats

Which coaches are already on the hot seat? Can the NFL officials get better at their turnover calls?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It was a nice Sunday for Bengals fans as Cincinnati already had their Week 4 win under the belts on Thursday night. We went on to root for, and against, other teams we had interest in, all in the stress-free environment of having Thursday’s game completed with a W. Here’s what’s on my mind after Week 4.

Red zone

The Bengals have to score touchdowns in the Red Zone. We can’t simply blame this on Tyler Eifert’s absence (although, his return will help in this area of the game). The Bengals have to finish drives with touchdowns if they are going to beat good teams. We know the line play is concerning, but the lack of points from the red zone is the most urgent issue with this team right now.

Jason Marcum wrote about this earlier in the week and the stats show the Bengals find the end zone less than 13 of the time in the red zone.

Bad officiating

The Bengals have been affected twice this season with fumble calls when the ball carrier was actually down. Both were upheld because the replay official is not allowed to use common sense when reviewing a call on the field. So if players’ bodies are in the way then the call on the field has to stand. Even if the original call was terrible. Case in point this past Sunday with the Cleveland Browns. This is actually one of the worst calls I have seen.

The ball carrier does lose the football. But before anyone can recover it, he grabs the ball and actually stands up with it. He is holding the ball above his head as the official is looking into the pile to see who recovered. Then after seeing absolutely nothing, the call is made for the Redskins recovery. This one is bad, really bad.

Seats are getting hot

We are one-quarter of the way into the season and already there are talks of coaching changes. Some of the names being tossed around as potential coaches who will be fired are:

  • Gus Bradley in Jacksonville
  • Mike Mularkey in Tennessee
  • Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis
  • Mike McCoy in San Diego
  • John Fox in Chicago
  • Jim Caldwell in Detroit
  • Sean Payton in New Orleans

It makes me wonder if there would be a change in Cincinnati if the Bengals falter this season. Marvin Lewis is the second longest tenured head coach in the NFL. Would a non-playoff season add him to the above list?

Go for two

Let me start by saying I can’t stand the Steelers, I like nothing about them. But, I do tip my hat to the call of going for two in the first quarter of their Sunday night game. The Steelers were looking at a 6-0 lead and decided to try to add two more to their score. There wasn’t too much to lose, but the upside is huge. Instantly, the opposing team is put in a hole if the attempt is good. It turned out not to matter on Sunday, but the tone that was set could have led to the dismantling of the Chiefs. There, I am done saying nice things about the Steelers.