The Bears came into the game with the 32nd ranked defense (just one better than the Bengals who rank 31st) and finished with 271 passing yards and 232 rushing yards, totaling 503 yards in the game.
Hello, Bengals defense. Are you there?
They were not. Vontaze Burfict, Adam Jones (who’s now on Injured Reserve), Dre Kirkpatrick, Nick Vigil and Shawn Williams missed the game. Geno Atkins played hurt and made minimal appearances in the game. So, while there are excuses that can be made, the fact remains that the Bengals were embarrassed by the Bears at home. Coming into the game, the Bengals' defense ranked 14th in yards allowed, averaging 334.1 per game. Somehow, the previously life-less Bears gained 168.9 yards more than the Bengals’ defense was allowing per game.
Carlos Dunlap knows that Sunday’s results were embarrassing and admitted it after the game.
“It’s embarrassing to do this at home,” Dunlap said. “We didn’t defend our home field, and that’s something we take pride in. I felt like we had a good week of practice, but we didn’t execute the game plan. I know there are a lot of young guys in (the game), but that’s an excuse, and we don’t use excuses around here.”
The Bears have a strong pair of running backs, and the Bengals’ biggest weakness on defense has been defending the run. So, it was no surprise to see Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard taking off on Sunday. Howard had 147 rushing yards while Cohen compiled 80.
“It was a scheme we were prepared for, they just executed it,” Dunlap said of whether the Bengals were ready for Sunday. “There was a little delay out there with us. I think we played hard, and the effort was there. They just out-executed the game plan.”
As far as if whether today was one of the worst games of Dunlap’s Bengals career, he didn’t confirm it, but had this to say: “This was pretty bad. I didn’t expect this football game.”
“We didn’t defend home field,” Dunlap continued. “We had fans here; I had a lot of family here. It was embarrassing to put that up there and come out like that. It’s not what I expected.”
Maybe the most interesting thing Dunlap commented on was the Bengals’ ability (or lack thereof) to light a fire under themselves. The inability to do exactly that has been a big problem for Marvin Lewis’ Bengals. It’s one of the biggest critiques regarding Lewis, going along the lines that he can’t coach the Bengals to care enough and have the emotion to win.
“We have to figure that out. I don’t know. I don’t have that answer,” Dunlap said.
That right there might be the Bengals’ biggest problem.
“We have three more games left. That’s three more opportunities to play three good ball clubs and try to make that stand. You have to win one before you can win three, though.”
The Bengals have three games left to go out there and not see the game end in embarrassment. That won’t be easy as the remaining teams the Bengals will play are the 10-3 Vikings (coached by Mike Zimmer), the 7-6 Lions (who are still fighting for a playoff spot) and the Ravens (who shutout the Bengals in Week 1).
“We have three more games left,” Dunlap said. “That’s three more opportunities to play three good ball clubs and try to make that stand. You have to win one before you can win three, though.”