Bengal Bites: Chargers 16 Bengals 13
Randy Bullock missed a 31 yard game-tying FG with :07 due to a calf 'grab'. Sounds about right for another chapter in the annals of Bengaldom.
Joe Burrow showed plenty of reasons to believe something good is just getting started. Sure, he threw a couple of ill advised passes/flips, one that was intercepted. He also missed a touchdown throw to AJ Green. But.........he looked the part in the final drive of the game. Starting on his own 18-yard line, with 3:08 to go and no timeouts, he completed 8 of 11 for 70 yards, connecting with six different receivers on the drive and eight for the game. I loved his audible to the 23-year TD scamper, following the lead/directing Trey Hopkins.
OPI or TD? AJ Green clearly used a shove to create seperation from Casey Hayward. Pro Bowler vs Pro Bowler. Could it have been a no-call 'let 'em play' or dueling penalties and a do-over? Sure. If Mike Williams had done it to Mackenzie Alexander we'd been screaming for OPI.
The Bengals attempted the game-tying field goal with :07 left. Could they have taken one more shot for the touchdown? Remember, they had no timeouts AND the ball was from the 13-yard line. The penalty on Green moved the ball back from the three yard line.
Good to see Green making plays: 5 catches on 9 targets, 51 yards. Long of 14.
Our OL fears certainly came true early often....Burrow was sacked three times and hit six times in the first half....But give them credit, they seemed to settle in and were much better in the 2nd half. Burrow was not sacked on 22 pass attempts or hit in the 2ndh half. Why did it take that long for the OL to adjust/settle? One of my long standing beliefs is 'always protect the investment.' How do the Bengals roll into this season with a 'franchise QB's and Hart at right tackle? What does it say about Fred Johnson if he couldn't beat out Bobby Hart in camp? Jonah Williams seemed to wobble a little early and then I didn't notice him...which is good.
The secondary caught my eye with solid play. They wrapped and tackled short of the sticks several times (Jessie Bates 3rd and 9/Williams Jackson III 3rd and 9). Darius Phillips did get burned by Williams on a 36-yard catch.
The longest offensive play of the day was Burrow's 23-yard TD sprint. But they missed big plays on the endzone throws to Green and Ross.
The Bengals could not take advantage of good field position. They had a stretch of possessions that started at CIN 38, LA 44, CIN 40, CIN 42, CIN 41, CIN 40, CIN 32. They produced a TD and two FGs on those seven drives.
The Bengals passed on their first seven 1st down opportunities.
Turnovers: 2 Bengals. 0 Chargers.
John Ross makes losing plays: False start, bobble and a deep ball whiff that I have no words for. I'm not sure I've ever seen a WR that has so much trouble tracking the ball. I repeatedly find my self wondering why he didn't appear to give max effort going after a ball. He played 57 snaps, most of any Bengals WR Sunday. He's has caught 42-percent of the passes thrown his way in his career. For comparison: Boyd 65.5, Green 58.6, Erickson 61.8, Tate 47.8.
Auden Tate had 15 snaps, no targets. Snaps for others: Green, 45, Boyd 55, Thomas 15, Higgins 15, Erickson 4.
The end of half was very typical. They got a big 4th and inches stand with 1:11 left. But the offense went three-and-out in :38 and they gave the ball right back to the Chargers. The defense lost track of TE Hunter Henry on a 33-yard pass. Chargers ended the half with a field goal.
Run D? From worst in NFL last year (148.9) to 155 yards Sunday.
I thought the LBs were fine, especially with the snaps that rookies Gaither and Wilson saw. Josh Bynes was solid. Chargers were not roaming free over the middle of the field.
Kevin Huber had three touchbacks on the day. He had just five all of last season and three each in 2017 and 2018.
Tyler Boyd was a non-factor until his first target and catch with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter: 4 catches/5 targets, 33 yards.
Mixon coughed it up for the first time since his rookie season, a span of 621 yards.
As aggressive as the Chargers DL was I would have like to have seen a flea flicker or reverse from the Bengals.
You'd like to think you win games with a defense allowing 16 points.
It was the first time Joe Burrow has lost since in 659 days.....since November 24, 2018.....74-72 in 7 OT to Texas A&M.
Bengals now 0-9 in games decided by one score in the Zac Taylor era.
Bengals have lost 22 of their last 25 dating back to 2018.
Injuries: Is Bullock OK by Thursday? Is Geno back? Xavier Su'a Filo?
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