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Bengals News (10/19): Burning out in Indianapolis

The Bengals started off hot but ended in disaster this week.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Bengals Put No. 1 Defense On Ropes, But Can't Knock Out Colts
On Sunday Joe Burrow again put the Bengals in position to win, this time rocking the NFL's No. 1 defense with a 24-point first half that got wiped out by Colts quarterback Philip Rivers' Night at the Hall of Fame Museum performance during Indy's 31-27 come-from-behind victory.

Quick Hits: Bengals Joe Burrow threw for 313 yards for his 4th 300-yard game of the season
But a fellow rookie Burrow never saw ended all that with his interception at the Colts 10 with 39 seconds left to seal Indy's 31-27 victory. The Bengals, who had a 21-0 lead after the first play of the second quarter, had never lost the six games they had at least a 21-point lead after the first quarter.

Cincinnati Bengals postgame quotes: Joe Burrow, A.J. Green, Tee Higgins and Jessie Bates III
"I'll have to watch the film – I'm not sure. We didn't convert on third downs the way that we needed to. We did stay out of second-and-long. We were efficient on first down, but we just got to finish those third downs."

Bengals fall 31-27 to the Colts in Week 6
This had to be the most frustrating one of all the Bengals' 12 one-touchdown games without a win over the last two years as Colts quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 371 yards in erasing the Bengals' 21-0 lead and turned it into a 31-27 Indy win. It marked the fourth time this season the 1-4-1 Bengals went into the fourth quarter with a lead.

Bengals Break Fast In Indy
Rivers, under fire after last week's loss to Cleveland in which he looked all of his 38 years, suddenly looked like the guy that put up 42 points in a half against the Bengals in 2006 game. He racked up 267 yards in the half on 18 of 26 passing. The killer came with 15 seconds left in the half and Rivers facing a third-and-10. Cornerback LeShaun Sims had good press coverage on wide receiver Zach Pascal, but he couldn't make a play on the ball for a 17-yard touchdown that Rivers seemingly dropped from a plane with no absolutely no pressure from the Bengals all half.

Bengals' inability to win close games apparent again in loss to Colts
Winning close games have been all but impossible during Zac Taylor’s coaching tenure. That proved to be the case on Sunday in a 31-27 loss against Indianapolis. Under Taylor, the Bengals are 1-11-1 in one-score games, which is easily the worst record in the NFL during that span. The lone win was a Week 4 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars this season in which a late field goal cut Cincinnati’s winning margin to 33-25.

Joe Burrow responds to Bengals blowing 21-point lead
Even though the early returns on Joe Burrow have been mostly positive, wins in the NFL have been hard to come by for the Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback. The No. 1 overall pick out of LSU achieved his first victory as a pro two weeks ago, but he’s still looking for his second.

Baker Mayfield will start vs. Bengals if healthy, per Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 38-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but head coach Kevin Stefanski said he replaced Mayfield with backup Case Keenum during the third quarter because of Mayfield's chest injury that limited him during the week of practice.

Lack of closing punch proves costly for Bengals in Indy
It's a lesson Cincinnati (1-4-1) learned the hard way, blowing a 21-point lead for the fifth time in franchise history — the second time it's happened against Philip Rivers. The Colts quarterback also erased a 21-point deficit against the Bengals in 2006 when he was with the San Diego Chargers.

Around the league

NFL Week 6: What we learned from Sunday's games
The Packers were cruising, up 10-0 through the first quarter, moving the ball at will. Facing a third-and-10 with 12:50 left in the second quarter, Aaron Rodgers dropped back and threw an out-route towards Davante Adams. Bucs corner Jamel Dean squatted on the route, jumped the pass, and scampered for a pick-six. Rodgers' first INT of the season sparked a deluge that washed away the Packers. The Packers QB threw another pick on the next possession, and the Bucs (4-2) went from down 10 to up 3 points in less than two minutes of game time. Tom Brady's Bucs scored 38 straight unanswered points to bury the previously undefeated Packers. Brady picked apart the Green Bay defense with a bevy of intermediate tosses and an occasional deep shot. With the O-line keeping Brady clean (zero sacks), TB12 proved he can still pick apart a defense when he isn't moved off his spot.

Patriots sloppy in loss to Broncos after COVID-19 disruption
The New England Patriots' sputtering loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday should have come as no surprise. The lack of rhythm and energy, the misfires and mistakes -- these are the kind of things that happen when a team has only one real practice in two weeks while having its routine and roster otherwise upended by positive COVID-19 tests and the protocols they trigger. That's not an excuse for the Patriots. But their struggle does underscore how impressive the Tennessee Titans were in their demolition of the Buffalo Bills after their own two-week shutdown amid a team-wide coronavirus outbreak that engulfed nearly two dozen people.

Rodgers after defeat: Packers needed a 'kick in the' butt
Through the first quarter of the season, the Packers (4-1) had risen to the top of the NFL hierarchy, the defense doing its part and the offense rolling on high, having scored at least 30 points in each game and 40 or more twice.

Dolphins rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa makes NFL debut in win vs. Jets
The No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 draft handed the ball off on his initial snap in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick. One play later, Tagovailoa rolled out to his left and hit Patrick Laird for a short gain. He then connected with Jakeem Grant for 7 yards, ironically giving Miami its first third-down conversion of the game. Tagovailoa would hand off two more times as time expired, finishing 2 of 2 for 9 yards.

Browns replace banged-up Baker Mayfield with Case Keenum during loss to Steelers
The Browns quarterback was removed late in the third quarter of Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Steelers. A chest injury limited Mayfield in practice last week and made him questionable to play against his division rivals. There's no question it affected his performance.

Steelers bully Browns in lopsided AFC North clash
Despite all the talk about the Browns having won four in a row, scoring at least 32 points in each of the games, or how they entered the weekend with the league's No. 1 rushing attack, the Steelers still treated them like bothersome little brothers, bullying them on offense and defense en route to a 38-7 victory at Heinz Field.