Joe Burrow should be allowed to have a bad day, especially against the defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Alex Erickson, meanwhile, a five-year vet, shouldn’t be fumbling on his first touch, and Alex Redmond, a four-year vet, shouldn’t be holding on a key second down.
But most importantly, Zac Taylor shouldn’t be unprepared following a bye week.
The AFC North is a physical division. That means you need to have a plan for when the weather poses a challenge and your passing game isn’t on point. The Bengals did not. They put the 5’9” Giovani Bernard out there as the starting running back, and he could only muster 30 yards on eight carries. That simply won’t get it done.
More importantly, you can’t let (and I cringe as I type this) a Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, have all the time in the pocket he needs and expect to not get blown out. But the Bengals have yet to figure out how to create a pass rush outside Carl Lawson, and, despite a valiant effort by the defense against the run, simply couldn’t stop the big passing plays.
The most frustrating part for fans is that, we all saw this coming. We knew Roethlisberger would feast on the secondary and that, with Joe Mixon out, we’d have to rely on Burrow to produce a massive game, which was unlikely against T.J. Watt and company. We knew that. So the coaching staff definitely knew that. And yet, they had no way to counter.
Sure the team is undermanned and under-talented. I mean, the aforementioned Alexes (Erickson and Redmond) shouldn’t have even been given the opportunities to make those mistakes. But when a team is already out of the playoff picture and beating the Steelers would give fans and players reason to believe and hope in the future, you have to think it’s time to get creative and take some risks.
Instead, the Bengals just relied on their rookie. When he couldn’t deliver, he volunteered to take the blame. That makes no sense in a game like this in a division like this.
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