The Bengals and Rams took the field at Wembley Stadium at London for the inter conference, international face off. This was Zac Taylor’s first game against his former boss Sean McVay, but Taylor would probably love a do-over.
The Rams were passing nearly at will against the Bengals, accumulating nearly 400 yards through the air. They also added 100 yards on the ground with Todd Gurley and Darryl Henderson.
The Bengals’ offense actually looked like they could run the ball, but the Rams defense shut the door in the second half. The team had only about 30 yards in the second half until garbage time.
The Rams took advantage of injuries in the Bengals secondary early on with 52 yards on their first two passes, and added another 25 yard pass later in the drive. The 11-play drive stalled on the five-yard line, so the Rams turned to Greg Zuerlein for the 23-yard field goal. The kick was good, and the Rams had an early lead with 6:41 to go in the first quarter.
The Bengals’ tried to get Tyler Eifert involved in the passing game, since he has been having a quiet season so far. Andy Dalton tried to connect with him earlier in the game on a crucial third down and missed, but succeeded on their second drive of the game, getting 31 yards on two third down attempts. Dalton also connected with Tyler Boyd for 22 yards on fourth down to get to the red zone. A false start derailed the momentum, and Randy Bullock came in for a 28-yard kick. 14:57 away from halftime, the Bengals tied the game 3-3.
Cooper Kupp had a great first drive of the game, and the Rams went right back to him on the second drive. Jared Goff hit him for a 32-yard pass to get the Rams out of the shadow in their own end zone and near midfield. The Rams later faced a third and long, and hit Kupp again for 23 yards. On the next play, Goff floated the ball over the head of Germaine Pratt to get the ball in the hands of Robert Woods for a 31-yard touchdown pass. With 10:43 left in the second quarter, the Rams were up 10-3 after the extra point.
The Bengals handed the ball off to Joe Mixon in an effort to turn around their running game, and even let him run with the ball on fourth down on their own 45-yard line. On the drive, Mixon had two carries over ten yards and even Giovani Bernard got some room to run. Bernard got 25 yards on his first run of the drive, and suddenly the Bengals were in striking range again. Mixon rushed for 36 yards on the drive, but it was a one-yard reception that tied the game for the Bengals. After the short touchdown pass from Dalton and the extra point from Bullock, the Bengals tied the score with 5:18 left in the quarter.
Kupp, who already had 101 receiving yards on the team, got the ball on a trick play, and due to B.W. Webb stumbling in coverage, Kupp took the ball 65 yards to the house. After only a three play drive, the Rams re-took the lead and after Zuerlein’s extra point, the Rams were up 17-10 with 3:57 until halftime.
The Bengals’ first half offense was about as good as it had been all season. Dalton was 15 for 19 with 141 yards and a touchdown, while Mixon was over the half-century mark for only the fourth time this season. They even appeared to fix their league-worst running defense with only 35 rushing yards for the Rams.
However, the Bengals’ passing game was absolutely flummoxed by McVay’s passing game. Goff passed for 273 yards in the first half without getting sacked or turning the ball over. All three of Goff’s top receivers were gaining at least 18 yards per reception.
Cooper Kupp stood above the pack, though, as he had completions on all five of his targets for 165 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters of action.
It’s no surprise that when the Rams got the ball back after halftime, that they wen’t back to Kupp on third down. Kupp helped convert on third-and-four and third-and-ten, totaling 55 yards between the two plays and even beating triple coverage on one of them. Todd Gurley finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown, and after the extra point, the Rams were now up 24-10 with 10:14 left in the third quarter.
The Bengals’ defense did tighten things up after that score, forcing four punts and nearly getting two interceptions. The offense, however, slowed to a halt, so the Bengals couldn’t close the distance for most of the second half.
But just on schedule, the offense surged midway through the fourth quarter. Just when the Bengals needed some offense the most on fourth-and-long, Auden Tate fought off pass interference and reached as high as he could to grab the fourth-down ball for a 27-yard gain. Boyd also had a crucial catch for a fourth down conversion to get the offense into the red zone. But on fourth-and-goal, Dalton threw a short slant to Stanley Morgan, but only picked up about half the yardage they needed to get, so the Rams took the ball from their three-yard line.
The Bengals still had some drive in them, even as the clock was winding down. Dalton aired out a deep ball to Erickson to get the Bengals to the red zone, but they only had time for a handful of plays. They got to another fourth-and-goal, but couldn’t find the end zone, so the score held at 24-10.
The Bengals are going into a bye, hoping to get players like A.J. Green and Cordy Glenn on the other side. They drop to 0-8 as they fly back to Cincinnati.