A common theme for the Bengals this season has been an inability to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. That changed on Sunday as the Bengals decisively beat the Eagles and improved to 4-7-1 on the season. Marvin Lewis was light in cliches and straight to the point in his postgame press conference, following the team’s first win in more than a month.
“We were able to be productive when they stacked up in front. We were able to throw the football effectively, and we took advantage of the opportunities they gave us,” Lewis said after the game.
Andy Dalton was a big part of the win, playing his best game of the season and earning a quarterback rating of 130.
“Our quarterback did a nice job, too. We got some eight-man looks in the box, and I believe they assumed we may not pass in those situations,” Lewis said. “However, I thought our receivers did a nice job getting open and catching the ball.”
That they did. Nine Bengals caught passes on Sunday and Brandon LaFell was the leading receiver on the day with five grabs for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. Rookies Tyler Boyd, Cody Core and Alex Erickson all had grabs and second year receiver James Wright caught two passes for 20 yards before leaving the game with a knee injury. Tyler Eifert was relatively quiet with just two catches on two targets, but, one was a touchdown.
Something that we saw on Sunday that hasn’t happened often this season was simultaneous impressive games from the offense and defense. Lewis made sure to acknowledge his defense, which has improved since the bye week, too. Though, he also noted some of the defensive struggles such as the poor play on fourth down. The Eagles were three for five on fourth down including a Zach Ertz fourth-and-five touchdown. That’s the second fourth down touchdown the Bengals have allowed in the last four games (the first coming against the Giants).
“The defense did a nice job keeping points off the board in the first half. Later in the game, we allowed them some fourth-down conversions,” Lewis said. “We did a nice job reducing their success on third down, but we must stop the fourth down situations too. That kept their drives alive late in the game. We just need to execute better in those situations and get those things stopped. They ended up scoring a fourth-down touchdown as well. Those are things we can not allow. Basically, it’s taking better care of the football.”
Since it had been more than a month since the Bengals’ last win, Lewis also spoke of what it feels like to win a game.
“It’s great for these guys. For us as coaches, it’s about the same,” Lewis said. “I am glad for our players. It’s good for them. They have worked their tails off. We had another good week of preparation. Today, they got to enjoy the fruits of their work.”