Once again, the Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
When you lead by three points, and you leave a team 66 seconds with no timeouts, you would think the worst case scenario is overtime. But that is not the Bengal way.
You have to wonder what would have been if the Bengals’ defense had forced just one incompletion (not counting the spike) in the final three quarters. Just one.
Oh well. The Bengals have failed to win another one score game for the 12th time in two years. It happens to the best of us, right?
By the way, Bengals coaches tend to get fired after the get swept by the Browns. I don’t expect that to happen, which means Zac Taylor has the best job security in the world.
Anyways, here’s what we learned.
Joe Burrow is the real deal
We already knew this, but we have more evidence after Sunday.
Joe Burrow made history again, adding to what will be a memorable rookie season. At least, it will be memorable on the stat sheet. Fans will probably want to forget most of this season by next year.
What’s even more impressive is that Burrow did all that without his starting center and both starting guards. The Bengals better hope that Quinton Spain works out for them, because they desperately need offensive line help with all the injuries they will have to absorb.
Burrow also had a day without much help from the running game. Giovani Bernard wasn’t a huge help running, as he only amassed 2.7 yards per carry. But he had five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, and his pass protection aided Burrow in the passing game.
Still, in order for the Bengals to be successful, they have to be one-dimmentional. Burrow is the quarterback to do that with.
The Trio of Wide Receivers is rock-solid
Burrow couldn’t have thrown for 406 yards without some help from his receivers.
Tyler Boyd is still Burrow’s favorite, and he had 11 receptions for 101 yards. A.J. Green had seven receptions for 82 yards, which is the second straight week he has posted such positive production. Tee Higgins was not left out, with five catches and 72 yards himself.
Three weeks ago, it seemed like Green was on his way out. Now, the thought of Green signing a long-term deal this offseason is not so ridiculous.
The Bengals won’t have to worry about the passing game for a few years. This is as good as it has ever been in Cincinnati.
Carlos Dunlap’s time is near an end
It’s a shame that Carlos Dunlap’s time had to end in bitterness. He truly is one of the franchise greats.
After being frustrated with his lack of playing time, he’s handled his disappointment in the most immature ways. He posted the defensive end rotation on Instagram, he exchanged a heated conversation with the defensive line coach during the game, and after the game he posted on Twitter that his apartment was for sale. And all this was after he tried to tell us on Instagram Live that everything was going to be fine.
Does his play on the field help the Bengals overlook his antics? He had one offsides penalty and no tackles on Sunday, so no.
Like he said on Instagram Live, if someone in his position wasn’t frustrated, they would be a bad teammate. But it’s the way he’s handling the frustration.
Look at A.J. Green. He’s was just as frustrated as anyone after the last two years he’s had. But he put his head down and got to work. In the two games after his single-target outing in Baltimore, he has posted two straight games of at least seven receptions and 80 yards.
With Dunlap’s play in decline, it’s harder to justify putting up with his off the field antics. He’s doing more harm than good.
When Tyler Boyd (the one who defended Green even after most fans were ready to be done with him) and Bernard (who has had his share of depleted playing time throughout his career) are calling out Dunlap, then Dunlap needs to think long and hard about his decisions.
There are no words to describe how bad the Bengals defense played on Sunday. Where to start?
How about with Baker Mayfield. After throwing five straight incompletions, he threw 21 straight completions. The only incompletion he had after the first quarter was a spike to stop the clock.
How about with the Bengals’ defensive line? They couldn’t even generate pressure while rushing seven on the last drive. They nearly doubled the amount of pass rushers and still couldn’t get to Mayfield.
How about the fact that the three leading receivers were the third wideout, their third tight end, and their fourth wideout? Rashard Higgins, Harrison Bryant, and Donovan Peoples-Jones shredded the Bengals, and the latter of the two are rookies.
You might be thinking, but the Bengals have so many injuries on defense. Yes, you’re right, but the Browns have so many injuries on offense. The Browns lost their Pro Bowler running back, their Pro Bowler wide receiver, and their Pro Bowler tight end. Except for D.J. Reader, the Bengals don’t even have anyone of that caliber on defense to lose.