The Bengals’ list on how to lose football games grows after a surprisingly wild finish to an otherwise mundane game between two backup quarterbacks.
It seemed like a comeback was on the horizon the longer the Bengals were facing a Colt McCoy-led offense, and after a few key penalties against the Giants, they were just a couple first downs from winning in by a field goal. A walk-off strip-sack for the loss is just the latest heartbreak for the Bengals and their fans.
The game was an ugly one, but there were some positive performances as well. Here are our winners and losers.
Brandon Wilson: That was quite the spark to start. Wilson’s 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is now the longest play in Bengals’ history. The special teams ace had another solid return to start the second half and flew past the Giants’ punt coverage to help down a punt inside the 10-yard line.
Darrin Simmons: Zac Taylor’s seat is getting warmer, and Lou Anarumo’s seat is located in a volcano, but the coach in charge of the Bengals’ special teams had himself a good day. To go with Wilson’s touchdown, Simmons called a successful fake punt for the second time in three weeks and his unit was consistently great on punt coverage.
Vonn Bell: At this point, it’s silly to expect anything from Bell when he’s in man coverage at the line of scrimmage, but he made up for allowing a 53-yard completion to Evan Engram by forcing an recovering a fumble for 19 yards a few drives later. Bell has quietly been playing much better of late, and that forced fumble gave the Bengals the ball when the Giants were in scoring range.
Josh Bynes: Logan Wilson has played more snaps in recent weeks, and Bynes played like his job was on the line. Bynes had some impressive moments in space in coverage throughout the game, notching two passes defended to go with a few stops as well.
Tee Higgins: Most of his production came in the fourth quarter, but Higgins came away as the Bengals; leading receiver with 44 yards on five receptions. His last catch was his fifth touchdown of the season and it gave some life for the team. Right before that, he hauled in a clutch 18-yard grab for the offense’s biggest play of the day.
Brandon Allen: He wasn’t supposed to start a game this season, and no one was expecting much different from the Bengals’ quarterback, but that wasn’t good at all. Allen got the nod because of how bad Ryan Finley has been in the two years since he’s been with the Bengals, but this version of Allen isn’t too much better. The touchdown to Tee Higgins was nice, but that play only happened because of a bad pass interference penalty. He just wasn’t good enough.
Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green: This is the reality with a backup quarterback; the receivers are going to struggle. Green was catch-less for the second time in three weeks, and just wasn’t on the same page as Allen. Boyd was limited to just three receptions and 15 yards.
Drew Sample: Sample was Allen’s second-favorite target of the day (four receptions for 40 yards), but his fourth quarter fumble was mighty costly. Sample just can’t give the ball away at that moment.
LeShaun Sims: The Bengals are asking Sims to play starter snaps, and the veteran just isn’t good enough. Sims allowed a few crucial first down receptions to Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate after getting turned around in coverage. The defense needs Trae Waynes healthy as soon as possible.
The entire pass rush: The Giants’ offensive line have been oft-scrutinized, much like the Bengals’ offensive line, so the Bengals had a great matchup to finally create some pressure. Aside from a couple of designed blitzes, the Bengals’ worthless pass-rush continued to be inept. Carl Lawson was handled by rookie LT Andrew Thomas, and the rest of the unit failed to pick up the slack.
Zac Taylor: Every loss for the remainder of the year only makes Taylor’s case worse. He gets no excuses with just 4.5 wins in now 27 games. Those are the rules.