This one feels a bit worse than when the Cleveland Browns dominated the Bengals in 2022 on Halloween. At least that loss didn’t knock Cincinnati below .500.
The debacle against the Titans, though, drops the Bengals to 1-3 on the season. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens extended their divisional lead with a record of 3-1. At this point, winning the division has gone practically out the window.
Not a great start to the post-Joe-Burrow-rookie-contract era.
Myles Murphy: The first round pick managed to get the first sack of his career in the second quarter. It may have been the last good thing to happen for Cincinnati, though. On the next play, Ryan Tannehill hit a deep pass to DeAndre Hopkins to extend a drive that ended with the first of three second-quarter touchdowns for the Titans.
Brad Robbins: Many were calling for a change at punter after the fifth-round pick struggled through the first three games of his career. Then he came out and kicked a 62-yard punt early and continued to look more like the player we expected after drafting him.
Coaching staff: Players on both sides of the ball looked lost after the first quarter. To be fair to them, this isn’t as much on coaching as many fans think. Nonetheless, the offense has had to deal with limitations to Burrow for three games already, so for the coaches to not find solutions in that context is just inexcusable. If they can’t get anything going next week, it’s time to talk about significant change.
Joe Burrow: We can’t mince words about this. Burrow didn’t play well enough to win the game. You can blame the offensive line, the injury, or the wide receivers, but at the end of the day, he isn’t making the calls or throws that beat teams. He got outplayed by Ryan Tannehill for crying out loud!
Tee Higgins: It’s been nothing short of a disaster for Tee Higgins in the midst of a contract year. That continued today with Higgins suffering a rib injury that knocked him out of the second half. He finished the game with two grabs for 19 yards. After grabbing eight passes vs. Baltimore, Higgins has just four catches over the past two weeks. It’s going so bad for Higgins that you have to wonder if the Bengals will even franchise tag him in the offseason if they can’t agree to a new deal.
The Bengals defense: If you took a drink every time the defense missed a tackle today, you would have died. Missed tackles galore made things too easy for a Titans defense that didn’t even reach 100 total yards last week. We can talk about questionable penalties, but Bengals defenders still rarely slowed down the Titans offense once it got rolling.
This disappointing performance falls on everyone. Many were worried about a revamped secondary after that had been one of the strongest positions on the team. But defensive linemen and linebackers who have been here for years looked lost at times as well.
The offensive line: This unit has to be better at this point. Yes, they were put in a tough spot with Tennessee blitzers loading the box and daring Cincinnati to make a play offensively. But there were still plenty of times Titans pass rushers got to Burrow quickly because Cincinnati’s linemen missed blocks or failed to recognize who was coming.
The fans: The Bengals should apologize to all of the fans who traveled to this game and watched from home. This was an all-around unacceptable outcome for a team that was previously on the ascent. Everyone from the front office down knows what the expectations are, and they failed to come close to even the lowest of those expectations.