The Cleveland Browns lost Odell Beckham Jr. for the season in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game in Cincinnati.
That didn’t stop the Bengals in-state rival from handing them their fifth loss of the season. The Bengals, who entered as 3.5-point underdogs, lost 37-34. They extended their now three-game losing streak.
It was a nail-biter of a game that resulted in one of the week’s most exciting. With over 400 yards, Joe Burrow showed his dominance while Baker Mayfield ended the outing with five touchdowns of his own.
That said, Cincinnati’s loss sent them to 1-5-1, soundly last place in the AFC North. Given the manner in which they lost, their fourth one-score loss of the season and the 12th of Zac Taylor’s 19, they didn’t slip too far in national power rankings.
Let’s dive into where they stand after Week 7.
One of the Bengals’ lone healthy additions from free agency has struggled in pass coverage. When Bell is the nearest defender, he has the second-highest total expected points added of any Bengals defender, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. He has had some tough moments early on and will look to improve a pass defense that is one of the worst in the NFL. — Ben Baby
Joe Burrow has been outstanding, but he throws it way too much and takes too many shots. They have to protect him better.
Carlos Dunlap complained about his spot on the depth chart on social media, fought with a coach on the sideline and tweeted that his house was for sale. He obviously wants out of Cincinnati and is trying to force the Bengals to get rid of him, which puts the team in a tough spot. They can’t keep Dunlap around if he keeps being a problem, but they don’t want players thinking they can force a trade or release by acting this way.
So close, yet so far. The Bengals continue to hang with most opponents on their schedule, but an inability to close continues to haunt them. Cincinnati was beaten in the final minute by Baker Mayfield and the Browns on Sunday; it was the team’s third loss of the season in a game in which it entered the fourth quarter with a lead. The Bengals have made undeniable progress from a competitive standpoint, with super rookie Joe Burrow under center, but the results aren’t there for Zac Taylor, who has three wins in 23 games as head coach and a 1-12-1 record in one-score games. He might need to find a way to win a few of these games over the season’s final two months to ensure he still has the faith of ownership.
If you’re counting – I am – 12 of coach Zac Taylor’s 19 losses have come by one score. Not sure, though, if that’s a positive or negative.
Joe Burrow is a winner despite the roster burning down around him. He’s been a pleasure to watch this season—now, can Cincinnati get some draft equity at the deadline to help him out?
With every passing week, watching the Bengals makes you think about just how fun this team will be once Joe Burrow has some weapons around him. Not even halfway through his first season as pro, he’s made it very clear he’s going to be the face of the franchise for years to come.