After jumping out to a 21-0 lead just after the 1st quarter ended, the Bengals defense gave up 3 touchdowns before the half.
They were not able to pressure quarterback Philip Rivers on a regular basis, and he completed 14 of 21 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter alone.
The problem was not playing zone defense. The Bengals were actually very balance between zone and man and over the course of the game they gave up similar numbers in each.
Teams will generally play more zone when they have a big lead. The reason being that it is a lot easier for an offense to score on one play when you are playing man.
Star cornerback William Jackson may have made T.Y. Hilton a non-factor in this game, but the Bengals only have one of him. To play man continuously you need to be able to lockdown all 5 potential receivers and that is no small task, particularly without Trae Waynes across from Jackson.
Filling in for Waynes is a combination of Darius Phillips and LeShaun Sims, both of whom have struggled this season. Each was responsible for giving up a touchdown in this game.
Safety Vonn Bell had some struggles, but we knew when Bell was signed that he was an excellent box player who struggled in deep field zones and man coverage.
In this video I take a look at the issues the Bengals had in pass defense and how Jessie Bates III nearly bailed them out at the end.
SB Nation’s Cincy Jungle podcast channel is home to “Matt Minich’s Bengals Chalk Talk,” along with “The Orange and Black Insider” with Anthony Cosenza and John Sheeran, and “Orange is the New Black” with Ace Boogie and Zim WhoDey. Be sure to go follow our Twitter page and then go ‘like’ our Facebook page to get everything you need to know about the Bengals. And check out our podcasts, including all Orange and Black Insider content, which is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, Megaphone, and on iTunes!