A game involving Philip Rivers included a quarterback throwing an interception on a potentially game-winning drive. Only this time, the quarterback in question wasn’t Rivers.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals lost a heart-breaking game that featured a 21-point blown lead and a back-breaking missed field goal. But losses like these mean that the still-prevalent issues plaguing this franchise cannot hide behind a win.
Here are the winners and losers from the Bengals’ fourth loss of the 2020 season.
Tee Higgins: The recipient of Joe Burrow’s first deep reception is the rookie he’s been targeting deep all season, and that catch-and-run wasn’t even his best play of the day. Higgins made a tough third-and-long catch between three defenders early in the third quarter, which kept the Bengals’ final scoring drive alive. Higgins finished with 125 yards on six receptions; both are career-highs.
A.J. Green: From “trade me” to “you can’t guard me.” Green had his best game of the season and actually looked like the old Green we’re accustomed to seeing. He finished with 96 yards on eight receptions, with most of them coming on slants. He was finding soft spots of the Colts’ defense and showing a little more burst coming out of his breaks.
Jessie Bates III: The MVP of the team stepped up when they needed him. Bates gave the Bengals a potentially game-saving interception in the fourth quarter, which was the cherry on top of the defense’s improvement from the second-half debacle we witnessed.
Vonn Bell: With other free agent additions on I.R., Bell is looking more and more like a liability on the field. In a Cover 2 shell, Bell was beaten deep on 55-yard pass that set up first Colts touchdown. Later on, he was made a fool by Rivers on crucial third down late in the fourth quarter. As the game went on, we saw more and more Shawn Williams on the field where we’d normally see Bell.
Darius Phillips: Most of the Bengals’ defense was shredded in the second quarter, and Phillips was no exception. He was beaten by Trey Burton on first of two second-quarter touchdowns. After talking the talk leading up to the game, Phillips didn’t exactly walk the walk on Sunday.
LeShaun Sims: Oof. Sims was getting snaps at cornerback despite the return of Mackensie Alexander, but he did not belong on the field. Sims was beaten on two passes during Colts’ two-minute drill, including second touchdown. Later in the third, he was burned again on a second-and-12. Rivers roasted this defense, and Sims was the main culprit.
Alex Redmond: His matchup with DeForest Buckner was relatively uneventful for most of the game, but a false start and allowed sack on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter put a damper on things. The sooner Xavier Su’a-Filo returns, the better the offense will be with Redmond back on the bench.
Lou Anarumo: The entire second quarter, what the actual Hell man? Rivers’ dissection of the Bengals’ secondary was inexcusable, and the majority of the blame belongs on Anarumo’s shoulders. When he rushed three, Rivers won. When he blitzed, Rivers still won. And where were Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins? Anarumo did his best to hide them on the bench and we’re not sure why. Overall, it was not a good day for Cincinnati’s defensive play-caller.
Zac Taylor: A two-play sequence featuring a full-back run and a fourth-and-one field goal can be described with one word: cowardly. Taylor won’t have a win to disguise the latest blunder in his young-but-uninspiring coaching career. After 12 road games, Taylor has as many wins as yours truly. You play to lose, you lose.