No one is mincing words when it comes to reacting to the egg the Cincinnati Bengals laid in Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
A pivotal AFC North matchup saw the Bengals hanging around in the beginning before falling flat as the Steelers strengthened their hold on the division. The Cincinnati offense amassed a total of 179 yards for the entire game with the majority of those yards coming in the first half.
During the first half, Joe Mixon looked to be having the best game of his young career to date. Of course, this would be followed up by not giving him a single touch in the second half.
How, you say, could the Bengals possibly defend the blatant lack of focus on their young playmaker?
Every Jeremy Hill snap is a wasted Joe Mixon snap.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) October 22, 2017
I don't get the strategy of putting Jeremy Hill in the first possession of each half.— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) October 22, 2017
Jeremy Hill gained 7 yards on 4 carries, one of which was a 5-yard gain. Why the Bengals continue to put him on the field confuses me.— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) October 23, 2017
On Hill starting game and half: good chance for Mixon to watch and learn— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) October 23, 2017
“Yeah, that’s frustrating,” Mixon said after the game. “I felt like Bell got the ball 35 times. I get it seven. All in the first half then don’t touch the ball again. Jeremy got one touch in the second half. It was frustrating to us running backs. We are in the room and feel like we are a part of the offense. If it worked in the first half why not do it in the second”
Naturally, the Bengals’ excuse excuse is that it’s a great chance for Mixon to learn behind a guy who hasn’t averaged at least four yards per carry in the last three years.
Lewis wants to hear none of it.
“I didn’t know anything about it until I was told,” Lewis said Monday. “Again, I’m going to say the same thing again: You should show maturity just like everybody else. Everybody wants to be out there all the time. But we’re not going to create a run when we are down by 12 or 15 (points). We’re not going to create it. I saw a ball go on the ground when he received two balls thrown to him, which are the same situation. We got to handle it all the time the correct way, and be strong enough to not be led into questions after the game, which unfortunately he doesn’t know enough about.”
Combine this with the fact that Lewis has gotten to the point where he’s so frustrated that he’s walking out of postgame press conferences, you can sense that this ship is once again on the verge of capsizing.
While the two previous weeks of wins before the bye were nice, it’s a telling sign that the Bengals aren’t good enough as-is to beat real teams. They came close in Green Bay, but failed.They had a chance in Pittsburgh, but failed. They beat Buffalo, but I don’t think anyone realistically believes the Bills are going to make noise in the postseason.
Vontaze Burfict came under fire again this week in the media for a kick to the head of Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix. The event happened not even a minute into the game, but it wouldn’t be an indicator of things to come as the contest was void of any bench clearing brawls.
Unfortunately for Burfict, he could be the target of more NFL discipline, but luckily in this case, it doesn’t appear he’ll be faced with another suspension.
#Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict’s apparent kick from his back to be reviewed for discipline in the standard process, source said. No suspension— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 23, 2017
The calls for Lewis’ head on the chopping block seem to be louder than ever and it appears to be much more than just casual fans or local diehards advocating for change now.
It’s hard to think of a scenario where Lewis is let go before the regular season is over, considering how loyal they have been to him over the years. However a complete meltdown from an organizational standpoint might force Mike Brown’s hand.
There can only be so much outrage, so many abruptly ended press conferences, and so much disappointed before it’s too great to ignore. At the end of the day though, this season is going to be a long ride. In the best case scenario, the Bengals beat all the bad teams and tease you with the slightest optimism before falling flat in big games.
In the worst case, the wheels totally fall off the wagon and we get transported back to the 90’s.
Reminder: Your favorite team despises your existence.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) October 23, 2017
It’s not easy being a Bengals fan, is it?