The blame can be tossed around plenty of ways by the Cincinnati Bengals after their loss to the Houston Texans. This team isn’t one to point fingers at one of the other units or position groups after a loss.
That is overly apparent after veteran cornerback Mike Hilton didn’t shy away from speaking very bluntly about the defense’s performance.
“That’s not who we are as a defense,” Hilton told Jay Morrison of Pro Football Network. “We’ve got too many guys on this defense to give up that type of explosion. If we don’t correct it, this s–t is gonna get ugly.”
Cincinnati routinely gave up big runs and passes. The game plan of sitting back and playing zone just didn’t work, as C.J. Stroud was able to easily break contain to allow his receivers plenty of time to find an opening or the coverage to break down.
Even then, tackling was bad, guys weren’t fighting for position in their gaps well enough, and overall lackadaisical at times. The defense had two turnovers on the day, and you could question how much they had to do with the fumbled snap and if the ball was really all the way out when Stroud fumbled in the first half.
If not for those plays, this could have been a worse outcome for the unit as a whole.
Still, even if the defenders won’t say it, the offense having four straight three-and-outs isn’t ideal when Houston’s offensive attack had their offensive line overpowering Cincinnati’s defensive line or forcing defensive backs to cover five to seven seconds a play.
The veteran defender didn’t mince words, though. You can tell the defense knows it can’t play like this if they want to compete for a Super Bowl, and more importantly, they can’t play this way on a short turnaround.
“If we play like we did today, we’ll get our a– beat in Baltimore,” Hilton said. “That’s straight up. We’ve got to bow up or shut up. We know who we are in this locker room, and we’ve got to go prove it.”