The Cincinnati Bengals had a little bye after losing in Week 2 to the Houston Texans. They decided to make a change at offensive coordinator before heading into Green Bay. It almost paid off as the Bengals looked competent as they scored their first touchdown of the season. Ultimately, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers finished the game off in overtime to win the game 27-24.
The Bengals looked like the team we expected to see all season, but at 0-3 it could be too late for it to even matter. The Bengals have a game in Cleveland coming up against the Browns who are also searching for their first win of the season. It is doubtful that even beating them can gain them any standing in power rankings.
ESPN easily gave the Bengals the highest ranking this week at 25, but they are concerned about Andy Dalton during a perceived easy stretch.
Andy Dalton: 16.6 Total QBR. Despite a solid effort against the Packers, Dalton still owns the worst Total QBR at 16.5. It might not get better anytime soon. The Bengals' next two games are at Cleveland, where Dalton has a career 36.1 Total QBR, and then home against the Bills, who have allowed the fewest points per game this season.
Dalton easily had his best game against the Packers as he threw two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he missed several throws at key points during the game that opened the possibility for the Packers to comeback.
It is interesting that ESPN ranks the Bengals over teams like the Dolphins, Colts and Jets all teams who have a win this season.
SB Nation moved the Bengals up to 29 in their rankings. Still, at 0-3, they don’t think the Bengals have a season left to salvage.
A rough start was to be expected for rebuilding teams like the 49ers and Browns. But for the Bengals, Giants, and Chargers, this is a disaster. New York, in particular, was a team many thought would be a real competitor after an 11-5 season last year.
The last team to make the playoffs following an 0-3 start was the 1998 Bills, so the reality is that all five teams that haven’t found a win yet are just about toast.
It is a long shot that the Bengals can make the playoffs, but if the AFC North continues to lose winnable games, Cincinnati can take advantage of a soft schedule and maybe compete for a playoff spot.
NFL.com keeps the Bengals at 30, and they site the fact the Bengals offense late-game struggles.
The Bengals showed up Sunday. Perhaps they should have come out more aggressively in overtime, as Tony Romo pointed out during the broadcast. Whether against the Texans at home or the Packers at Lambeau, the Bengals' issue remains whether their offense can close out a game. In the last two losses, the Bengals' attack was given an opportunity to win, be it on the final drive against Houston or after winning the toss in Green Bay. Nice to see A.J. Green enjoy a throwback WR1/A.J. Green-esque performance (10 catches for 111 yards and a score), though.
CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports both gave the Bengals the same ranking. Yahoo put the blame on the defensive side of the ball, though.
The Bengals as expected used a "mini-bye" to settle Andy Dalton and make the offense revolve around A.J. Green and Joe Mixon. That worked. Unfortunately, the defense wilted against the pass in the end in Green Bay.
It feels wrong to blame the defense. They held the Packers to 24 points on an extremely hot day. The Bengals offense put up three points in the second half, and they failed to put together that game-sealing drive to help the defense out. William Jackson even scored a touchdown on Rodgers’ second pick-six of his career.
The Bengals need to take advantage of games against the Browns, Bills, Colts and Jaguars in the coming weeks to get back into contention. Cincinnati also has a bye week before they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, which would be a huge bolt of confidence for this team.
The Bengals get their defensive leader, Vontaze Burfict, back this week after he served his suspension, but a turnaround for this team starts the Dalton and the Bengals’ offense putting it together for a full game.
Bengals Power Rankings