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Bengals vs. Browns postgame reactions: Coaching, player execution, or both?

We look at the sights, sounds and stats in the Bengals’ beatdown by the Browns.

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When a loss occurs in a team sport, folks are armed at the ready to dissect the reasons for the lack of success. It’s a practice all-too-familiar with those associated with the Cincinnati Bengals, given their overall track record of futility.

The team is in the midst of a two-game free fall, after becoming the NFL media darlings for a brief week following their beatdown of the Baltimore Ravens. In a 25-point loss at home to the franchise’s most hated rivals, questions abound on the direction of the team.

One heated talking point actually pits the players against the coaches in some ways. In losses such as these, do we blame individual players and positional units for their obvious lack of execution, or the coaches charged with prepping them for the moment?

Valid cases and arguments for both sides can be made. In the case of five egregious dropped passes by Bengals wide receivers, two of which would/could/should have been touchdowns, that’s on the players for not coming through on plays designed to work.

However, in cases wherein respective team units continuously struggle with an apparent lack of adjustments? That seems to be a coaching problem.

It’s odd how frequently folks jump on and off of the 2021 Bengals bandwagon. The reasons range, but it comes down to levels of belief in some of the franchise’s most important and current figureheads.

Everyone is of the mindset that Joe Burrow is the next great NFL quarterback, but suddenly, he leads the NFL in interceptions thrown. We all liked what Zac Taylor, Lou Anarumo, Darrin Simmons and Brian Callahan were doing when the team was 5-2, but two straight losses have many questioning the direction of this team.

In truth, a lack of a true, constant identity in all three phases of the game is plaguing this team. Plenty of blame is to be shared—from coaches and players alike.

Even though it’s a painful reality to swallow, this is still a young team. From a roster standpoint, many of the most important players are in their early 20’s, while most team leaders are in their early or mid-20s.

To that point, this is still a young and inexperienced, albeit innovative coaching staff, trying to find its winning formula. While they are in year three of the rebuild, the truth is they’re in year two with most of its critical parts—many of which have missed time with injury, or are simply brand new.

Even so, the excuses and similar results are wearing thin. For many, 5-4 at the bye week was right about where many pundits and fans had them sitting. But, with huge wins over Baltimore and Pittsburgh, both on the road, under their belt, expectations have risen in 2021.

Some of the other facets covered on our postgame breakdown:

  • Donovan Peoples-Jones is becoming a Bengals killer in just his second professional season.
  • It seems like a completely different time when the Bengals pounded the Ravens, even though it was just two weeks ago.
  • Baker Mayfield has had some of his best pro games coming against the Bengals. It’s pretty easy to see why.
  • And more!

Join us for the postgame show live every week after the game, or else catch it on your favorite platform afterward!

If you’re unable to join us live here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube for every episode, all of our podcast content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Google Play Music apps, our Orange and Black Insider YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels to be notified when we’re going live and when new episodes are available!