The Cincinnati Bengals have yet to taste victory in the Zac Taylor era. Mistakes, injuries and a myriad of issues continue to plague the team, as it begins to look unclear as to when the squad will achieve its first win.
Unfortunately, a change in venue in the form of playing in front of a European crowd didn’t alter the results we’ve seen throughout 2019. Here are the best and worst facets of the Bengals’ 24-10 loss in London to the Rams.
Sunday’s receiver trio: The Bengals’ offense continues to sputter, but Auden Tate, Alex Erickson and Tyler Boyd continue to step up and make plays. All players made some highlight reel plays in London Sunday evening.
Tate had a great, 25-yard leaping grab, en route to a five-catch, 65-yard day. He didn’t haul in a tough touchdown reception in garbage time at the end of the contest, but he continues to make a name for himself. Meanwhile, Erickson was the team’s leading receiver with six grabs for 97 yards—mostly thanks to a 52-yard reception on the final drive as well.
And, Boyd continues to be “Ol’ Reliable”. He finished with six for 65 and moved the chains frequently.
Tyler Eifert: I suppose we could have lumped him in above, but given what this guy has gone through in his career, we always like to spotlight him after a solid outing. After the talent at tight end has gone criminally underused this year, Taylor finally decided to use No. 85 on Sunday. Eifert responded with six catches for 74 yards.
William Jackson III: The veteran corner was perhaps the lone, consistent bright spot on defense, as the receivers he covered had almost zero impact on the contest. Per Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one reception on Sunday against the Rams.
Special teams: Randy Bullock was perfect on the day, even though it consisted of just one field goal and extra point attempt apiece. The real bright spot was in the punt coverage aspect, where Kevin Huber put three of his five punts inside the Rams’ 20-yard line and Stanley Morgan downing two of them deep in Los Angeles territory.
Dropped interceptions: It’s so cliche to say a struggling team needs to capitalize on big plays, but it is so very true when it comes to the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals. The defense had two golden opportunities to secure interceptions from Jared Goff, but the “butterfingers plague” struck again.
One bounced right off of the upper torso of a sliding Shawn Williams, while the other bounced off of three Bengals defenders. It’s been a theme of the year and a big reason why the team remains winless.
Andy Dalton: When looking at his stat line, one may be initially led to believe it was a decent day by the Bengals quarterback. But, phantom pressure seems to still make No. 14 skittish, causing him to misfire on big-play opportunities.
I don’t even have the words. pic.twitter.com/I2OWiaZVyN— Anthony Cosenza (@CJAnthonyCUI) October 27, 2019
Then there was the inexplicable dry spells of offense that directly followed the defense forcing three-straight second-half punts. Things aren’t working well around him to be sure, but he’s simply not raising the play around him and, as we mentioned before, his mechanics are getting sloppy because of distrust in the offensive line.
Defensive backs not named William Jackson III: Tony McRae was torched by Cooper Kupp for a career-high 220 yards, while the safeties continue to show signs of regression. Williams had the dropped interception, while Jessie Bates III continues to lack the big-play impact he showed as a rookie last year. The 372 passing yards were the fifth-highest of Goff’s four-year career.
Billy Price: The second-year offensive lineman, who got the start at left guard (supposedly a better fit for him in the pros), netted an awful 1.6 Pro Football Focus score for Sunday’s performance. If you want to know why the Bengals have struggled from 2016-2019, take a look at the yields (or lack thereof) of many of their picks in the first three rounds, dating back to the 2015 class.
No sacks, no turnovers: We mentioned the issue of “dropsies” above, but the lack of pressure led to Goff and Cooper Kupp having banner days across the pond. The team didn’t have Carl Lawson nor did they have Kerry Wynn at their disposal, but they did have a healthy Geno Atkins, Sam Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap. It’s pretty inexcusable that they didn’t get to L.A.’s quarterback for some momentum.
Dry spells and borderline unwatchable football: We’d like to say that the Bengals are showing signs of improvement in certain facets of the team, but that just isn’t the case. As they would like us to believe, the team may be better with the returns of some valuable injured veterans, but they are an 0-8 team that is, at best, treading water from their year-long appearances.
Taylor was hired because he was a supposed offensive guru, but the unit has been anything but innovative. They’ve been handicapped because of the injuries, but their inability to put up points and/or move the ball makes for a sometimes-wasteful three-and-a-half hours of viewership.