My kindergarten teacher taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.
Yes, the Chiefs have a dynamic offense led by one of the NFL’s brightest young stars, but the Bengals certainly have enough firepower that they should have been able to make it a good fight.
The offense’s lack of production, the defense's inability to tackle, and punt team’s epic fail were all bad, but what bothers me more than anything was the field goal the Bengals kicked in the 3rd quarter.
The Bengals were losing 38-7 with just over 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and faced 4th and 8 on the Kansas City 15-yard line. Was a comeback possible at this point?
Was it probable?
Almost certainly not.
Nevertheless, after previous dramatic comebacks this season, the Bengals should have been setting themselves up for another, but Marvin Lewis was more included to be conservative and take whatever points he could get.
At this point, if the Bengals had missed the field goal attempt or failed to convert on 4th down, it would have remained a four-possession game.
Being down 31, they needed four possessions to take the lead or tie the game (4 touchdowns, 3 2-point conversions, and 1 extra point to tie or 4 touchdowns and 4 2-point conversions to take the lead). They made the field goal cutting the Chiefs’ lead to 28 points.
A 28-point lead is still a four-possession game (4 touchdowns and 4 extra points). It is certainly easier to be able to kick extra points, but it would still take four possessions, and at this point the clock was their biggest enemy. With six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Bengals would have had 21 minutes to accomplish this (while preventing the Chiefs from scoring again).
People always think that when you are losing by multiple touchdowns you need to score as quickly as possible. That is not true. You just have to break it down. If you need to score four times in 21 minutes, you need to score every five minutes and 15 seconds.
This is a bit of an issue, since both of the Bengals scoring drives (the touchdown and the field goal) took approximately five minutes. If that is the speed they can drive and score at, it leaves no time for the Chiefs’ possessions. Not surprisingly, the Bengals ended up only having three more possessions in the game, so even if the score on all three and pitched a shutout on defense, it was all for naught.
Let's say for a second that the Bengals went for it on that 4th down in the third quarter and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass. If they kicked the extra point (I would have gone for 2, but that’s a whole other argument), they would have been down by 24 points with 21 minutes left in the game. It would have been a three-possession game (3 touchdowns and 3 2-point conversions tie the game).
Only needing three scores, the Bengals would have needed to score every seven minutes to keep pace (while not allowing a score on defense). The Bengals had three possessions the rest of the game, so technically, this would have been possible (although they gave up another score and probably should have given up another).
Clearly, the defense wasn’t going to be able to stop the Chiefs and the offense wasn’t going to be able to outscore them. Having said that, the decision to kick that field goal in the third quarter took away any chance they had at making a comeback.
Marvin Lewis either didn’t have the thought process of how to give his team a chance to win, or even worse, he didn’t have the mindset that they could make a comeback.
Either is troubling.