A loss is a loss, but the Week 8 loss to the Rams is the best loss of the season since the opener.
The Bengals did a lot of things right. The offense gained over 400 yards, ran the ball for almost double their season average, and won the time of possession battle.
But there were some things that they didn’t do so well. For one, they gave up almost 400 passing yards, and looked totally incapable of stopping the pass. They also turned the ball over on downs twice inside the Rams’ ten yard line. It was good that they even got down there in the first place, but if they came away with zero points each time, then it was all for nothing.
The Bengals get a week off this week, so they’ll have time to rest up and get some key players back.
What did the Bengals learn from the 24-10 loss to the Rams?
Tyler Eifert got hot
Tyler Eifert got six catches for 74 yards on Sunday, which is the best production he’s had since he had the exact same production in Week 3 of last season. He’s finally back to his regular self, out gaining his previous season high in yardage by nearly 50 yards.
Eifert played for 72 percent of the teams’ snaps, which is more than Joe Mixon had. You gotta figure that’s about what we would expect out of him if he was 100 percent healthy all of the time.
Pessimists will say the Bengals just increased his load so they could showcase him before the trade deadline. We’ll see if that’s the case, but if not then there’s no reason they shouldn’t use him like that if he suits up for the Bengals against the Ravens on November 10th.
Eifert’s production this week should demonstrate a valuable lesson to the Bengals: use what you have.
Over the past few weeks, Dalton just seems he’s almost exclusively looking for Tyler Boyd. Even though Boyd is a great receiver, but this meant that teams took him away and forced Dalton to look somewhere else. At times Auden Tate and Alex Erickson have stepped up, and in this case it was Eifert who benefited. This shows that Dalton needs to spread the ball around to keep the defense on their toes.
The good news is that A.J. Green is supposed to be back on the other side of the bye week. Dalton should have Green, Boyd, Eifert, and Tate at his disposal. This won’t solve all their problems, but should make it easier to move the ball down the field.
Lou Anarumo lost the chess match to Sean McVay
Cooper Kupp had a game, and he may be the best receiver the Bengals have seen this season. He was a huge part of the Rams’ game plan, as he hauled in seven of ten targets for 220 yards and a touchdown.
To give some credit to Lou Anarumo, he just lay there and take it. He really tried.
The Bengals tried covering Kupp with one-one-one coverage with Tony McRae. That didn’t work. So then they tried zone coverage. Kupp settle right in between the zones and scored on a trick play. Then the Bengals tried man coverage, but doubling Kupp with a safety. He still made plays.
Sean McVay ripped this defense apart, but the Bengals were probably looking in the wrong direction defensively.
The manual on how to beat Jared Goff is out there. Even the Buccaneers (yes, those Buccaneers) figured it out. You have to disguise your looks and confuse Goff.
The Bengals did this once, and three defenders dropped a near interception.
The rest of the time, the Bengals just let the play develop the way McVay drew it up. The Bengals’ ended up giving up 470 total yards on the day, so it’s not hard to see who won that battle.
So while Anarumo tried, it just wasn’t enough. He couldn’t go toe-to-toe with McVay in the chess match.
Adjustments are a real thing
We finally have a head coach who makes adjustments, and it’s paying off—at least, a little bit.
It’s no coincidence that the Bengals’ decreased the number of rushing plays every quarter. While the running game was off to a good start, the Rams started adjusting and stopping the run.
The only problem with that is the Bengals didn’t start making counter adjustments until it was too late. They were so dependent on the run in the third quarter that they couldn’t move the ball.
As always, they had things figured out by the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late.
Just like the way McVay was continually beating the Bengals’ defense, Zac Taylor needs to figure out how to keep making counter adjustments for his offense.
Taylor needs to get some lessons from his former boss, since it seems to be working out well for McVay.