The Bengals were run over by the unstoppable machine known as the Saints offense in their first game back from their bye week.
Here’s a recap of how the Bengals lost 51-14 to the Saints in NFL Week 10.
Fourth quarter update:
Now in full conservative mode, the Saints offense settled for a 42-yard field goal with 10:41 left in the game. The Bengals now trail 48-7.
For some reason, the Bengals starters remained in the game on the following drive, which resulted in Dalton’s second interception of the game. Cornerback Eli Apple returned the interception, which was batted up in the air at the line of scrimmage, to the Bengals’ 27-yard line. Four plays later, with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the game, Wil Lutz extended the Saints’ lead to 51-7 thanks to a 41-yard field goal.
And just like we all predicted, the Bengals second touchdown of the game came with just 4:42 left in the game off of a Jeff Driskel 27-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-one. The Bengals now trail the Saints 51-14.
Third quarter update:
In a shocking series of events, the Saints did not reach the end zone at the conclusion of their sixth drive of the game. Place kicker Wil Lutz knocked a 29-yard field through the uprights following a three-and-out from the Bengals to open the second half, extending their lead to 38-7.
To make matters worse, the Bengals have declared cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has suffered a concussion from the first half. His status to return is up in the air.
As soon as the Bengals regained some form of life, they were brought back down to earth. Linebacker Alex Anzalone sacked Andy Dalton on a third-and-four and the Bengals surprisingly went for it on fourth-and-13. They were unsuccessful as Dalton missed John Ross for the third time on the day.
The Saints took over at their own 40-yard line and gave up their sixth touchdown of game just eight plays later, as Drew Brees leaped his way into the end zone from just a yard out.
The Bengals record for most points allowed in a single game is very much in danger.
Brees over the top for the TD. Now it's 45-7 pending the PAT.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) November 11, 2018
Most points #Bengals have ever allowed is 52.
The Saints came ready to play and at the start, it looked like the Bengals did too. After both teams started with an opening drive touchdown, it’s been all Saints. Quarterback Drew Brees has thrown for 197 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 attempts. He has more scores that he has incompletions, and his efficiency is perhaps the biggest factor behind the Saints’ 35-7 lead at the half.
Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have a combined 178 total yards from scrimmage, and the Bengals defense has looked lifeless to stop it.
Just look at the difference between both offenses:
First half comparison: pic.twitter.com/iIRnxobre5— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) November 11, 2018
Andy Dalton has only 92 yards on 7-10 passing to go with his touchdown and interception. Joe Mixon has looked good with his five attempts, but the problem is he only has five attempts. If the Bengals want to start anything resembling a comeback, feeding him is the way to go, but their may not be enough time to do so.
The Bengals need to make MAJOR changes at the half to turn things around.
The Saints responded quickly on their second drive of the game with another 75-yard touchdown drive, only this time it took just six plays. 55 of those yards came on two receptions from running back Mark Ingram, and his second one ended in a 28-yard touchdown.
The Bengals got the ball back and started with solid field position thanks to a 32-yard Alex Erickson kickoff return. The offense only got one first down on the drive in the form of 17-yard Joe Mixon reception, but had to punt it away due to a false start penalty on tight Matt Lengel when the offense wanted to go for it on a fourth-and-one at the Saints’ 40-yard line.
Predictably, the Bengals defense continued to struggle against the Saints offense and gave up yet another long touchdown drive, this time it was Alvin Kamara who punched the ball in from four-yards out. During the drive, Bengals safety Clayton Fejedelem left the game after getting kicked in the side by his teammate Jessie Bates. The Saints now have three touchdown drives of at least 75 yards in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Following a costly three-and-out from the Bengals, the Saints took advantage and, once again, picked apart the Bengals defense. Alvin Kamara tacked on 20 more yards and finished the drive with his second touchdown of the game.
The Bengals second quarter woes on defense continues.
The Bengals offense had a nice two-minute drill going and crossed the midfield line with under a minute remaining, but things went from bad to worse in a hurry. When targeting John Ross down the right sideline, Dalton’s pass was severely under thrown and free safety Marcus Williams intercepted it and ran it back 78 yards.
Brees and Saints offense scored on a 17-yard Michael Thomas touchdown with just two seconds left in the half. Both teams go into the locker room with the score at 35-7 in favor of the Saints.
The Bengals nearly had a three-and-out against the Saints on the opening drive, but the Saints converted their first third down despite Marvin Lewis challenging the spot. The Saints converted more five more first downs and capped off a 15-play 75-yard drive with a seven-yard Michael Thomas receiving touchdown. No other drive the Bengals defense gave up went longer in terms of time of possession.
Longest drive of the year by a #Bengals opponent in terms of plays and time.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) November 11, 2018
Backup quarterback Taysom Hill was used on a couple plays for the Saints as well, and on the Bengals’ first drive, the Bengals countered with their own running quarterback. Jeff Driskel was given a read-option carry following a couple solid carries from Joe Mixon and a 23-yard Tyler Boyd reception. Driskel’s run went for eight yards, and it helped set up the eighth catch and third touchdown of John Ross’ season.
The Bengals are still very much alive in the playoff race, despite their struggles before their Week 9 bye. However, the Bengals are going to have to go from zero to 100 real quickly on defense as they face the 7-1 Saints, who are fresh off a victory against the seemingly-unstoppable Los Angeles Rams. The Saints handed the Rams their first loss of the season just last week.
Cincinnati will have to attempt to pull off the upset without A.J. Green, who is resting a toe injury. Not having your best offensive weapon against a team that will likely put up a ton of points isn’t ideal, but it isn’t all bad for the Bengals offense.
Andy Dalton will be getting back John Ross at wide receiver this week to combine with Tyler Boyd. They also will have to rely heavily on Joe Mixon as well, and he’ll now have his running mate Giovani Bernard back to help him out. Billy Price is also returning at center after a lengthy injury that’s kept him out since the middle of Week 2. It will likely take some real creativity by offensive coordinator Bill Lazor for the Bengals to keep up with the Saints.
The Saints have the second highest scoring offense in the NFL, and they are top 10 in total yards and passing yards per game. The triumvirate of quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas is always exciting to watch, and the Saints have been lucky they’ve all produced so consistently. This is because the Saints defense, on the other hand, has regressed back to the mean.
Despite talented players on all three levels of the defense, New Orleans is ranked in the bottom of most major defensive metrics, except for their run defense, which is ranked first in the league. Their 27th-ranked scoring defense is the sole weakness the Bengals have to exploit in order to keep pace with their offense.
Here is how to watch the Bengals host the Saints:
Game: Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) vs New Orleans Saints (7-1)
Date/Time: Nov. 11th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Streaming: Fubo TV
Series Leader: Bengals lead the all-time series 7-6
Streak: Bengals have won two of the past three
Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (2-1) vs. Sean Payton (1-2)
TV Broadcast: The game will air on FOX-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WXIX-TV (Ch. 19) in Cincinnati, WGRT-TV (Ch. 45) in Dayton, WDKY-TV (Ch. 56) in Lexington, and WTTE-TV (Ch. 28) in Columbus. Broadcasters are Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) and Pam Oliver (sideline reporter).
Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst). The game also will air nationally on Compass Media Networks. Broadcasters are Doug Gottlieb (play-by-play) and Brian Baldinger (analyst).
SB Nation Saints site: Canal Street Chronicles
Weather: Mid 40’s, Mostly Cloudy [NFL weather]
Odds: Bengals open as, +4.5 [Odds Shark]