With the 2015 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the distractions and noise surrounding...
Cincinnati Bengals: What Went Right and What Went Wrong in Week 2
The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10 on Monday Night Football to improve to a 1-1 record on the season.
While at home, the Bengals had still dropped 11 of their last 12 at home against the black and yellow coming into the game. Pittsburgh though, came in injured, and their offense looked just as anemic as the week before, only mustering 250 yards in the air and a paltry 44 yards rushing. This was a big game for multiple reasons, namely that since 2009 no team who started the season 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. Last week, the Bengals had a long list of things that went wrong when they gave up the game to the Chicago Bears. Some things were corrected from last week, but once again penalties are on the wrong list for a second week in a row. Read below for this weeks, “What Went Right and What Went Wrong” in Week 2 for the Cincinnati Bengals.
What Went Right
Gio, Gio, Gio
Gio Bernard had his coming out party at home, flashing his quickness on a check down 25-yard TD reception, while running up the gut for another TD. Starting running back Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis provided a change of pace, but Bernard was the real star of the show in the backfield. Look for him to continue to be involved more and more as the year goes on.
The Offensive Line
Once again the offensive line finds itself in the right section of this article. All-Pro Andrew Whitworth started after not playing last week at Chicago. The line did a great job against a constant blitzing Dick Lebeau defense. Andy Dalton was not sacked on Monday night, something I am sure he very much enjoys.
Pressure on the Quarterback
Last week the defensive line was in the “What went wrong” section. This week was prime for change, with a beat-up offensive line in Pittsburgh. While Ben Roethlisberger is routinely one of the hardest quarterbacks to actually take down, he was sacked twice and constantly harassed by the front seven of Cincinnati. Big Ben should have been taken down many more times, but there was enough pressure by the front seven that it interrupted his timing with his receivers. He was also hit six times, continually feeling the heat of the defense. While end Michael Johnson only was credited with one tackle, he was a nightmare for Big Ben all night, routinely a half second away from sacking the QB.
Cincinnati’s Entire Defense
The defense as a whole is worth mentioning this week. While Pittsburgh was still without tight end Heath Miller, the secondary essentially shut down the Steelers wide outs. No one for Pittsburgh had a big game offensively, as the Bengals held rushers to only 44 yards on 16 attempts. Vontaze Burfict found himself all over the field, leading the team with nine tackles. Roethlisberger really had no chemistry with any of his receivers, and could not get into a rhythm at any point of the night.
3rd Down Stops
Pittsburgh has long been a thorn in the Bengals sides when it comes to converting third downs. But on Monday night, the Bengals did a great job of getting the Steelers off the field, only letting them convert on 3-of-12 third downs. Zoltan Mesko had to punt the ball seven times on Monday night.
What Went Wrong
Andy Dalton’s chemistry with his receivers
Dalton at first looked anxious, overthrowing wide-out A.J. Green multiple times in the first series. However, it really didn’t get any better until the fourth quarter. At times, the passing game looked like it was the first week of training camp, as footballs would fly into spaces void of receivers. Dalton’s passes also lacked any zip, and even had a few wobblers.
I wrote last week that personal fouls killed the Bengals. This time it was just penalties in general that went wrong. The Bengals operated off the hard count for a good part of the game, and it’s really inexcusable at home to have the false start penalties that the Bengals did. Penalties are known to be drive killers in football. Fortunately for the Bengals, it did not end up costing them the game.
Next week the Bengals (1-1) stay at home and host the ever dangerous Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (1-1) at 1:00 P.M.
Related Articles on Buckeye State Sports:
Latest posts by James Mummert (see all)
- Cincinnati Bengals: What Went Right and What Went Wrong Against Cleveland Browns - October 1, 2013
- The Battle of Ohio: 5 Keys to a Bengals Victory Against the Browns - September 26, 2013
- Cincinnati Bengals: What Went Right and What Went Wrong in Week 2 - September 19, 2013