For the first month of the NFL season, it was all sweet-smelling roses and sunshine for the Cincinnati Bengals. They were the kings of the league for the month of September, dominating teams and charged to a 3-0 start. Then, reality set in to the tune of a near four touchdown loss on the road to an angry Patriots team.
In losses like those, there is plenty of blame to be thrown around. Even the household names on Cincinnati's roster committed egregious errors, leading to their Week Five demise. Pro Bowlers, first round picks and free-agent cast-offs--none were exempt from the issues on Sunday night.
Luckily, this is the first time we have had to do the "Goat of the Week" post through the first five weeks of the season. Cast your vote and sound off on who you think is the Week Five "Goat of the Week" winner.
A.J. Green: Drops and fumbles: two things your All-World receiver shouldn't commit. Unfortunately, Green was plagued by both issues against the Patriots, with the fumble being a doozy. Every time that the Bengals had a tiny bit of light shining through the tunnel, they made a costly mistake and the Patriots made them pay. Green's fumble was the epitome of that. Green was also basically shut out when Darrelle Revis was covering him, making most of his stats when Revis went out briefly and in garbage time.
Jermaine Gresham: Two catches for 15 yards when the other big-time tight end is hurt. Then, of course, there was also "the drop", which could have been a huge momentum-shifter. Not a good evening for Gresham, who is on pace for his worst statistical season as a pro.
Brandon Tate: He and Gresham go neck-and-neck, in terms of fan ire. Marvin Lewis has routinely defended Tate with his dependable, albeit non-flashy play as a return man. He, too had a costly fumble on a kickoff return that eventually extended New England's lead. To make matters worse, Tate had six yards on his lone punt return, while Adam Jones had 47 on his only try. But yeah, don't let Pacman return punts.
Mike Nugent: Suddenly, Mr. Dependable is becoming scary erratic. Nugent missed an admittedly-tough 50-plus yard attempt on Sunday night, but he's kicking at a 61.5 percent clip. Yes, some have been long misses, but they are momentum-killers. Like many others from last week, he had better fix some things quickly.
The Defensive Tackle Duo Of Domata Peko and Geno Atkins: It just isn't the same up front for the Bengals defense right now. The littler backs are gouging them this year (Justin Forsett, Bishop Sankey, Shane Vereen) and these two were non-factors against a reeling Patriots offensive line. Peko had eight total tackles, while Atkins had two, and amassed zero sacks. Vereen and Stevan Ridley combined for more than 200 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Backup Devon Still wasn't any more effective either, getting only two assisted tackles and getting pushed back frequently like the starters in front of him.
The Defensive Back Trio Of Reggie Nelson, Leon Hall And George Iloka: The players who may have had a worse showing than the defensive tackles were a slew of defensive backs. All three have been charged with covering tight ends, even Hall as he lined up in the slot often, and they were torched on Sunday night. Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright combined for 11 catches, 185 yards and two touchdowns. What's worse, was the body language and scared looks that came from these three when Gronk made a catch and celebrated. It looked like they wanted no part of him nor covering the middle of the field.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals Week Five "Goat of the Week"?