The Bengals lost, dropped to 5-4, and this morning fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. In his place, Marvin Lewis will take on the defensive coordinator responsibilities in addition to continuing on as head coach.
The Bengals offense struggled without star wide receiver A.J. Green, but the defense continued to look lifeless and hopeless against perhaps the best offense in the NFL. The Saints were unrelenting in their attack and exposed every weakness the Bengals defense has that wasn’t exposed already.
So why did Austin get fired?
Quarterback Drew Brees exited the game just after the beginning of the fourth quarter with 265 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and three incompletions.
Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara finished with 264 total yards of offense and three touchdowns combined. Ingram simply couldn’t be stopped whenever he had the ball.
And now, 509 total yards of offense allowed later, the Bengals made history.
No defense in NFL history has ever allowed three consecutive 500-yard games, until now. The 2018 Bengals defense is the first unit to ever do so, and it’s a testament to how truly abominable their defense has been this year. Austin deserved to get fired for this exact reason.
Forcing the other team to punt could have have helped to prevent this from happening, too. Instead, Austin’s defense allowed drive after to drive to continue with scores.
In two of the Bengals four losses, the defense couldn't force the opposing offense to punt one time.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) November 11, 2018
Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown. Touchdown. Field Goal. Touchdown. Field Goal. Field Goal. Touchdown.
That’s how each of the Saints’ possessions ended on Sunday. Every single one resulted in a score.
Here’s a look at the Bengals’ possessions against the Saints:
Touchdown. Punt. Punt. Interception. End of Half. Punt. Downs. Punt. Interception. Touchdown.
Entering this game, the Bengals ranked last in yards per game allowed, and gave up 551 yards to the Chiefs in Week 7 and 576 yards to the Buccaneers in Week 8. In Week 6 against the Steelers, they gave up 481 total yards, so the Bengals were just 19 yards away from making history two weeks earlier.
#Bengals opponents last 4 games:— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) November 11, 2018
40 points a game
2,117 total yards
(Bengals are 1-3 in that stretch)
During their bye week, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin hid his horrid defense behind the Bengals’ 5-3 record. But after the shellacking the Saints just bestowed upon his defense, it was impossible for Austin to excuse his unit’s continual poor performance.
Austin brought more problems than solutions with him from Detroit, and while we shouldn’t ignore the offense’s simultaneous struggles during the past month, the defense is now *officially* historically bad. Someone new will be tasked with fixing it.
The Bengals never seem to do well coming off of their bye week, but a month’s worth of preparation likely wouldn’t have mattered against the Saints, who are capable of crushing any team they play. The Bengals happened to be the team they could dominate the most, as this was the first time they’ve scored 50 or more points on 500 or more total yards since 2015, and the fourth time in franchise history that they’ve done so.
Luckily, the Bengals won’t play the Saints again until 2022 (save for a Super Bowl meeting), but that’s not going to save Austin.
The Bengals are now in need of a new defensive coordinator. But things can’t really get any worse.