The Bengals’ first loss of the season left Cincinnati fans upset and looking for answers to questions that can’t be answered.
Some people think John Ross is an “experiment” that needs to end. Those people are overreacting, though Ross played very poorly in the Bengals’ loss to the Panthers and Andy Dalton was intercepted twice when targeting the second-year receiver.
The John Ross experiment has got to go— Tomatos (@tomatos72) September 23, 2018
I get John Ross' mistake happened the latest, but the Bengals had PLENTY of chances to pull this game out. It was a team loss.— PatrickJudis (@PatrickJudis) September 23, 2018
Other fans were angry about the run defense, which was non-existent against the Panthers as Christian McCaffrey rushed for 184 yards and Cam Newton added 36 including two rushing touchdowns.
Run defense was dreadful and Ross completely tarnished Andy’s passing stats— Jonathan Watson (@spidamann) September 23, 2018
A.J. Green’s injury also has fans worried, as it should. Marvin Lewis said he’s “not sure” if Green will play next week in Atlanta, though Green sounded more confident that he will play. Green suffered what the Bengals are calling a groin injury on Sunday.
Glad to get Vontaze back, so we can have ONE nfl LB on the field. John Ross is awful, we miss Billy Price & Mixon terribly.. Oh, and AJ Green needs to be healthy or we will be 2-2 for sure.— Brandon Long (@A_Long_Bear) September 23, 2018
Dre Kirkpatrick is also receiving a lot of grief from fans. The Panthers identified him as the Bengals’ weakest link in the secondary and targeted him all game long. The results worked in Carolina’s favor, heavily. It’s a little scary to think what the Falcons will do against Green next week.
Dre has overstayed his welcome by 5 years. And John Ross is officially dead to me.— Travis Johnson (@TeeJay7989) September 23, 2018
I’ve been one of Kirkpatrick’s longest-standing supporters, but as of now, I cannot defend him.
I officially can't defend Dre Kirkpatrick anymore. So, there's that.— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) September 23, 2018
With Preston Brown still injured and Vontaze Burfict suspended, the Bengals’ linebackers played a weak game.
LBs are a problem. Can’t say much about the O with Green and Mixon out— Sean Von Doom (@SeanSTX) September 23, 2018
Meanwhile, the Bengals’ pass rush has been suspect and Carlos Dunlap was the only player to record a sack for Cincinnati. Even that play was a letdown as he had a strip sack that Carolina somehow recovered.
Where was the defensive line. Another missed pick for Dre. Offensive line did not look in 2nd half. Run game was horrible. I would prob give Walton more touches. I think I lost all hope in Ross. Dalton looked panicked when Green went out. GET REDMOND OUTTA THERE— Perc Nowitzki (@Young_Yolaaaa) September 23, 2018
Sam Hubbard explained after the game why he was unable to recover the ball.
Sam Hubbard on nearly recovering fumble in 4th Quarter: "I just got too aggressive. Saw it on the ground, dove on it. It's hot and humid - and the grass - it slipped out. Popped out from under me and I didn't even know where it went." #Bengals— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) September 23, 2018
Even with how badly Cincinnati played, they were still in the matchup through nearly the end. It was just mistake after mistake that destroyed them.
Could have pulled it off. Just kept making way to many mistakes— Matt Wailes (@mwailes) September 23, 2018
They beat themselves.
The main feeling in the Bengals' locker room following their loss to the Panthers was that they beat themselves, especially with turnovers. "It's nothing they really did," said wide receiver A.J. Green. "We moved the ball very well. You are going to... https://t.co/27OD2xfB4Y— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 23, 2018
Some of the questions that can’t be answered definitely go to Teryl Austin, whose play calling and defense have been questionable, at best. Even when the Bengals were winning in Weeks 1-2 that was true. The Bengals’ defense seems overly soft and opposing offenses have way too much room to work with.
I'm more concerned with Teryl Austin...haven't seen a good game plan yet from him!!! It looked like they didn't practice at all this week on the RPO. they let backups move them around— KingSolomon_yaflyness (@Solemon513) September 23, 2018
The Bengals lost by 10 with a final score of 31-21, but didn’t it seem worse?
Missing on offense by the end of the game: Starting RB Mixon, starting center Price, starting WR Green. Missing on defense: LBers Burfict and Brown, Billings... well the entire defense really.— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 23, 2018
Never Felt like Our Dey!— Ryan Walsh (@rrwalsh13) September 23, 2018
The Bengals have a lot to work on this week as the 2-1 team prepares for the 1-2 Falcons.
And that will be the final game without Burfict, so there’s that!