If you legitimately thought multiple times that the Bengals could win this game, you weren’t alone. For the first time in a long time, the Bengals looked like a competitive football team for four quarters.
Alas, the end result has been the same as it was for the previous nine weeks and the just like that, the Bengals have started 0-10 for the first time in 26 years.
Who played well and who played poor? Here are our winners and losers from the game:
Joe Mixon: The second half of the season looks to be promising for Mixon, who ran for his first rushing touchdown of the season in front of 75 family members and friends. A native of neighboring Oakley, California, Mixon wanted to show out in his homecoming game. And he delivered with 86 rushing yards and the aforementioned touchdown on 15 carries.
Geno Atkins: The Bengals’ best pass rushers finally got back in the sack column; and against a formidable offensive line too. It was the first sack in three weeks for Atkins in the first quarter after being questionable with a knee injury. He finished with 1.5 sacks and a tackle for loss.
Josh Tupou: Next to Atkins, Tupou had an active first half and further proved why he belonged on this team. He forced a Josh Jacobs fumble in first quarter and remained disruptive in run defense. He finished with five tackles and one for a loss.
Jessie Bates III: Much like William Jackson III, Bates was suffering from a sophomore slump. Things looking to be changing for the better for the young free safety, who got his second interception in two weeks and helped force the Jacobs fumble in the first quarter. The secondary as a whole played bad, but Bates had his moments worthy of recognition.
Ryan Finley: The occasional scrambles were nice, but Finley just didn’t play well enough for the Bengals to win, the multitude of drops be damned. Even in the first half when he was only pressured a handful of times, he averaged less than four yards per attempt.
The pressure started getting to him in the second half and that 20-yard dagger to Auden Tate was later overshadowed by the game-ending interception. The Bengals could’ve won with a cleaner game from their quarterback, who threw for 115 yards on 31 attempts with that interception to seal the loss.
John Jerry: The offensive line’s left tackle had a horrendous game. Jerry allowed strip sack in first quarter and a second and third sack, all to Maxx Crosby. This is just the latest poor performance from Jerry as the blind side tackle, who has allowed four sacks in his last three games. It should be interesting if he gets benched for Andre Smith or even Cordy Glenn next week.
Nick Vigil and Germaine Pratt: With Preston Brown gone, it was up to Vigil and Pratt. Vigil was at fault for losing Foster Moreau on the Raiders first touchdown of the game, and Nickerson didn’t play much better than he’s played thus far. He was called for defensive holding and gave up a big pass to Darren Waller late in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Boyd: For whatever reason, Boyd was just not a part of the game plan for the offense. He finished with just one reception for zero yards on three targets. It’s rather the Bengals’ best receiver isn’t being featured with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
First-half Lou Anarumo: To be fair, it was the defense that gave the team a chance to win the game in the second half. But the first half performance was hard to ignore. Derek Carr completed his first 14 pass attempts as he cut the Bengals’ defense up in their first two touchdown drives. Carr even had 101 passing yards on ONE drive. This was thanks to how open his receivers were during the first half.
Via @ESPNStatsInfo: According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Derek Carr's receivers had 3+ yards of separation on 67 percent of their targets and averaged 4.4 yards of separation. Both would be their best of the season.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) November 17, 2019
Credit to how Anarumo got his unit to bounce back in the second half, but again, the first 30 minutes reeked of how the rest of the season has been.