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Bengals at Chargers: Cincinnati fails to answer as opportunity knocks while dropping their fifth straight game

The Bengals dropped their fifth game in a row in close fashion.

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San Diego Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the first and only time this season, the Bengals played on the west coast as faced the red hot Los Angeles Chargers. Unfortunately, a few crucial mistakes kept the Bengals from completing a last-minute comeback and fell 26-21. Here was how the game transpired via our live blog:

Fourth quarter

The Bengals add a field goal to cut the Chargers lead to just five. The Bengals leaned on Mixon yet again during the drive, but the drive stalled as Driskel tried to force a pass to Boyd over the middle in between two defenders. Cincinnati will have to hope their defense can stop the Chargers yet another time.

Los Angeles matched Cincinnati’s field goal to extend their lead back to eight points. It really felt like a victory for the defense to hold them to only three points after the drive started with a big play to Allen down the field. The Bengals are still within one score though.

Joe Mixon scores a one-yard touchdown to cap off an 11-play 79 yard drive, but the Bengals failed to convert the two-point conversion as Driskel was sacked on the play. That means Cincinnati’s defense has the tall task of holding the Chargers to a three-and-out to even have a chance at pulling out a win.

Los Angeles added a 45-yard field goal after the Bengals failed to recover the onside kick. The score is now 26-21, which means the Bengals need a touchdown.

Cincinnati was only able to run three plays in a little over 40 seconds. A sack on Driskel on second down really threw the whole thing off. The final score has the Chargers getting win 26-21, as the Bengals looked more competitive than the last few weeks, but it wasn’t enough. Cincinnati has lost five straight games.

Third quarter

The Chargers add another field goal after the Bengals gave them a short field after a failed fourth down attempt on their own 35-yard line. Neither team is firing on all cylinders on offense at the moment, but it is clear Cincinnati needs a big play to stay in this game as the Chargers are up 20-12.

Cincinnati saw their offense stall out again, but they drove far enough to give Los Angeles a long field as they started from their own four-yard line, which gave the Bengals defense a chance to get them off the field. The Bengals will open up the fourth quarter with the ball at the Chargers 45-yard line looking to possibly tie the game late.

Second quarter

The second quarter started with the Chargers finishing off a 75-yard drive for their second touchdown in as many drives as Austin Ekeler ran it in from five yards out. The Bengals defense at least showed some resistance as they forced Los Angeles into two third-and-short plays, but Cincinnati couldn’t get them off the field. Chargers lead 14-3.

The Bengals cut the lead after the defense gets a rare stop (that may have been assisted by a questionable incomplete call). Jeff Driskel had what seemed to be a one-yard touchdown run, but he was ruled down before the ball crossed the line of scrimmage. The Bengals were set to go for it, but right guard Alex Redmond was called for a false start, and Cincinnati settled for a Bullock field goal as the Chargers lead 14-6.

Cincinnati is back in the game as John Ross catches a Driskel touchdown pass from six yards out to cap off a 35 yard drive. The Bengals ended up going for a two-point conversion, but they failed, so they still trail by two. However, the Bengals defense has three straight three-and-outs, which is giving this Cincinnati team hope.

Los Angeles is able to extend their lead after breaking their three-and-out rut they were stuck in. They sat just outside of field goal range with one second left in the half, but defensive lineman Jordan Willis jumped off sides, which allowed Mike Badgley to kick a 59-yard field goal to extend the chargers lead to 17-12 as the first half ends.

First Quarter

In what has become a trend for the Bengals to start off the game, their defense allows the opposing offense to move the ball with little resistance on their way to a touchdown. Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen connected on a redzone touchdown over Darqueze Dennard. Chargers now lead 7-0.

The Bengals get on the board after Mixon gains 37 yards on his first six touches. It only led to a Randy Bullock field goal from 47 yards out as the team is still looking for offense from the replacement players. Chargers lead 7-3.

The Bengals have been all but buried at 5-7 with the injuries of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. The team still has four games to play the role of spoiler though, and first up on the docket is the Super Chargers of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is sitting at 9-3, but they are currently only a Wild Card team because of the 10-2 Kansas City Chiefs, which means every game is of the utmost importance to the Chargers. They are literally on the fence of having a bye week in the playoffs or having to play each game on the road.

The Bengals have plenty to grow off of from last week. The defense played better (which wasn’t a very high bar to clear), but the offense struggled to really put anything together. They were bogged down by conservative play calling and penalties for most of the game, and despite the game being close for longer than you’d think by the final score, Joe Mixon still saw a limited role.

The Bengals have a load of injuries, but they still have the talent to give the Chargers a scare at home. It’s become a weekly session of wishing the coaches can get the most out the squad they have left, and once again, we’ll have to wait and see if some younger players will finally get to play a role and gain vital in-game experience leading into next season.

How to watch the Bengals take on the Chargers:

Game: Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) at Los Angeles Chargers (9-3)

Date/Time: Dec. 9th, 2018 at 4:05 p.m. EST

Location: StubHub Center, Los Angeles, CA

Streaming: Fubo TV

Series Leader: Chargers lead the all-time series 19-14

Streak: Bengals have won the past four

Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (5-2) vs. Anthony Lynn (0-0)

Television: The game will air on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Bruce Arians (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline reporter).

Radio: 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 Sports USA Radio. Broadcasters are Larry Kahn (play-by-play), John Robinson (analyst) and Troy West (sideline reporter).

SB Nation Chargers site: Bolts From The Blue

Weather: High 60’s, Mostly Cloudy [NFL weather]

Odds: Bengals open as, +14.5 [Odds Shark]

Prediction: TeamRankings projects a 31-17 Chargers win. numberFire projects a 30-17 win for the home team.