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Bengals’ mistakes prove fatal in Week 3 loss to Broncos

The Bengals had a few key plays where they were given the opportunity to take control of the game, but they literally and metaphorically dropped the ball.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati’s 29-17 loss to the Denver Broncos was a game filled with mistakes and missed opportunities.

From dropped interceptions, to dropped passes to penalties, the Bengals didn’t do themselves any favors in this game.

Perhaps the most troubling mistakes were their failed interceptions, two of which they had on the same drive at the end of the second quarter.

Late in the first half, Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian looked to his right and threw a pass that floated into no man’s land after it appeared to be tipped at the line by Carlos Dunlap. Multiple Bengals were closing in on it, including linebackers Vincent Rey and Rey Maualuga, but as Rey got his hands on it he stumbled into Maualuga, dropping the ball and bailing out Siemian and the Broncos offense. Dansby currently has 40 career sacks and 19 career interceptions. He could have used that one interception to join an elite club of defenders in the 40/20 club. There are four players in that club: Ray Lewis (41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions), Seth Joyner (52, 22), Wilber Marshall (45, 23) and Brian Urlacher (41.5, 22). Dansby will continue his quest to join the elite club on Thursday.

Later on in the drive, Pat Sims came up huge with a sack on third down, but it was negated by a holding penalty on George Iloka, allowing the Broncos to keep driving.

Moments after the penalty, we saw the second dropped interception of the possession, this time coming from safety Shawn Williams. This has become an unfortunate weekly theme for Williams, as lately, the hard-hitting safety hasn’t been able to hold onto picks just like this one. Williams simply needs to catch that ball.

Siemian capitalized on the Bengals’ inability to cut the drive short, and threw a touchdown pass with less than a minute to go in the half to give the Broncos a 16-14 lead going into the locker room.

In the second half, Cincinnati’s offense had one of its few big mistakes come at the worst time possible. Superstar receiver A.J. Green, one of the most sure-handed receivers in football, dropped a potential first down reception on third-and-three that forced the Bengals to hand the ball back over to Denver.

I’m not sure if Bradley Roby’s footsteps distracted Green, but it was definitely a pass that he should have caught. The drop led to Denver’s game-clinching touchdown drive, as Siemian went on to hit Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown, giving the Broncos a 29-17 lead.

Green noted how crucial the drop was after the game. “This offense starts with me. When I’m making plays, this offense — everything falls into place,” Green said. “Today I didn’t do that. I let my team down on that missed call that I thought was a run, and the next play I turn around and drop it. So that’s two mental errors on me that I have got to clean up.”

While Denver’s last touchdown essentially put the game out of reach, the bit of fleeting hope that Cincinnati had completely disappeared when Andy Dalton was picked off by Will Parks, ending any chance that the Bengals had of coming back.

This was certainly a game that Cincinnati had its chances to win. If the Bengals would have been able to capitalize on any of these opportunities, the outcome and dynamic of the game could have drastically changed. Now, the Bengals have to sure things up for Thursday and work on eliminating these mistakes. Vontaze Burfict will be back, and it’s possible Tyler Eifert could play (though, more likely he sits until Week 5), and having those two on the field will guarantee a lot more consistency and fewer mistakes on both sides of the ball.