Bengals: A 21-20 loss, but a feeling of something to build on

Opening observations:

Seahawks 21 Bengals 20

Gamebook and stats HERE

The Bengals went into Seattle and outgained Seattle by almost 200 yards (429-233), won time of possession by 11+ minutes, had more first downs (22-12), ran more plays (70-49) and took a 17-14 lead into the 4th quarter. But they lost because they failed to get points on three trips into the red zone.

Last chance hopes for victory were dashed when Andy Dalton was hit and lost the ball with :09 left from the Bengals 31-yard line. The play was ruled a fumble and stood up on replay review. I'm still not sure how it wasn't ruled an incompletion.

But while the Bengals could not capitalize on the Week 1 opportunity it did leave a feeling of something to build on for Week 2 and the rest of the season.

Bottom line: The offense had three trips inside the Seattle 40-yard line in the 3rd quarter and came away with 0 points.

  1. Leading 17-14, Preston Brown forced a fumble on the opening drive of the second half and Dre Kirkpatrick recovered it at the Seattle 28-yard line. But with rain coming down Andy Dalton had the ball slip through his hands when he was sacked and the Seahawks recovered at their own 12-yard line.
  2. Leading 17-14 and facing 3rd and 1 at the Seattle 36-yard line with 2:12 left in the 3rd quarter, Dalton threw incomplete to Tyler Boyd and Giovani Bernard was stopped for no gain for a turnover on downs.
  3. Leading 17-14 with 7:43 left in the 3rd quarter Randy Bullock missed a 45-yard field goal.

Andy Dalton tossed for a career-high 418 yards on 35 of 51 passing with 2 touchdowns, a sack and was sacked five times. Rating: 106.5. He connected with eight different teammates. The Bengals repeatedly found success on crossing routes and screens.

John Ross had a career day: 7 catches on 12 targets for 155 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard TD on a flea-flicker and a leaping 55-yard catch and run for score. But he dropped a pass, slipped and fell on a route, had an illegal formation penalty and slid down short of a first down after a 20-yard catch and run.

Run/pass ratio: 14 rushes for 34 yards (2.4). 51 passes. The first drive and 23 of their first 26 plays were runs.

OL: All things considered, the makeshift Bengals OL held up better than I think most thought they would. They handled the noise well and did not commit a false start. I believe Andre Smith (hold) committed the only penalty on the line. Obviously they are going to have to find a way to run the ball with some success.

Lou Anarumo's defense came up big most of the day: Allowing just 233 yards and 12 first downs. They sacked Russell Wilson four times and held Seattle to 4 of 12 (33%) on 3rd down. They mixed and matched packages using 4-5 five defensive linemen and no linebackers at times. Sam Hubbard was a beast with 10 tackles and two sacks. Carlos Dunlap came up big with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. They held the NFL's No. 1 rushing attack a year ago to 72 yards on 25 carries (2.9). A breakdown in the secondary cost them a Tyler Lockett 44-yard touchdown on the first play of the 4th quarter that gave the Seahawks a 21-17 lead and turned out to be the game-winner. They could not get a 3rd and 1 stop from the Seattle 11-yard line with about 3:00 remaining when Carson broke tackles and raced 21 yards.

Big sequence: For as well as the Bengals played in the first 23 minutes, Seattle took the lead (7-3) with 6:36 left in the half. With the Seahawks set to receive the second half kickoff it felt like the game was teetering:

  1. Responding to adversity: The Bengals answered with a sweet 36-yard catch and run by C.J. Uzomah and then a 33-yard flea-flicker Dalton-to-Bernard-back-to Dalton who found Ross for the TD to give the lead back to the Bengals (10-7).
  2. Here we go again: The Seahawks scored with less than two-minutes remaining in the half. Dre Kirkpatrick picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty and then joined Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams in missing tackles on a Chris Carson 10-yard TD catch and run on third down to give the Seahawks a 14-10 lead with :59 left. But Taylor had called timeout on 3rd down and bought the Bengals time on the other side of a the stop/score.
  3. New Dey: The days of Marvin Lewis taking a knee and sprinting to the locker room at halftime appear to be over. Trailing 14-10, Bengals got the ball back with :52 left in the first half and the ball on their own 25-yard line. Dalton went up top and found a leaping Ross who hauled it in and raced for a 55-yard TD to give the Bengals a 17-14 lead at the half. The TD catch came one player after a big drop by Ross.

Special teams: Bullock missed a field goal. Alex Erickson fumbled a punt, although the Seahawks did not score, and he allowed a punt to bounce that cost the Bengals about 15 yards.

What up?: Taylor challenged an incompletion to Ross on the opening drive and lost. I'm not so sure they would not have picked up a delay of game without the last second challenge. The Bengals were later called for delay of game on 3rd and 2 at the Seattle 16-yard line in the 2nd quarter. That pushed them to 3rd and 7 and into settling for a Bullock 39-yard field goal.

Injury: Joe Mixon left the game with ankle issue (6 carries/10 yards)

Tyler Boyd led the Bengals with 8 catches on 11 targets for 60 yards.

Tyler Eifert returned to make five catches on six targets.

The Bengals fumbled the ball four times, losing three of them.

Adjust it: The Bengals produced just three points in the second half.

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