*Maybe now we can stop giving the defense a pass. Not that we haven't all recognized its deficiencies, but it feels like we've spent the last few weeks talking so much about things like adding weapons, using Joe Mixon, and guys like Auden Tate and Cody Core that we've almost forgiven the defense for being as utterly shitty as it is.
I get it, we're in an offensive age. I understand, offense in 2018 wins championships. I get it, for the Bengals to win, they're going to have to overcome their crappy D. But is asking that much to ask them to be merely competent? I don't need this defense to remind me of the '85 Bears, or the '00 Ravens, or hell, even the '15 Bengals. Something between mild suckage and total embarrassment would suffice.
UPDATE: Maybe new defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis can help them achieve that middle ground between those two things!
*Does anyone know what Jordan Evans is doing when he plays football? Does Jordan Evans know what he's doing? Remember the preseason of 2017 when we all talked ourselves into him being the team's next good cover linebacker? Those were fun times.
*I have no idea why Andy Dalton was still in the game when it was 48-7. For that matter, I have no idea what Drew Brees was still doing in the game when it was 45-7, but I don't care about the Saints, so I'm more interested in why Dalton was still in when the game was well in hand for New Orleans.
To be fair, if Marvin Lewis was going to pull his QB once the game got out of reach, he could've yanked him when it was 21-7.
*The Bengals decided to go for it on a fourth and one at the Saints' 40 early in the second quarter. A Matt Lengel penalty made it fourth and six. The Bengals still should have gone for it.
*The injuries aren't an excuse for the crappy defense. Neither is the opponent. There are plenty of supposedly quality players still available for this unit to not be historically terrible, and the teams with the really good offenses are setting the standard in this league. The idea is to meet that standard.
*Not to put it all on one guy, but has anyone seen Geno Atkins recently?
*For the first time all season, I'm finally budging from my 9-7 guess. The defense is too leaky to count on them bottling up some of the lousier offenses they'll face. The Browns have been formidable at home. The Ravens are desperate, and could very well be using Lamar Jackson at quarterback, which feels overdue. Yes, the Bengals will get some guys back, but they've been trending downward for a while and given that they have two more games against hall of fame QBs, I have a hard time imagining this team winning more than they lose over the final seven games. I've got 'em at 8-8, a sobering outlook given how so many of us felt after the 3-1 start.
*Shawn Williams looks like he's afraid to make a tackle.
*Andy Dalton's pick near the end of the first half came on a desperate heave that I have no problem with him making. I do have a problem with how it looked like a number of Bengals players were very willing to let Marcus Williams run the intercepted pass back nearly the entire length of the field.
*It wasn't just that the Saints threw a bunch of talented players, led by a legendary quarterback, at the Bengals, it's how unperpared the Bengals looked for everything the Saints did. Their use of personnel awhile shuffling players in and out completely flummoxed Teryl Austin's unit. They had the bye week to prepare, and still looked ill-equipped mentally to play.
I wrote about the defense for The Athletic, if you're so inclined.
(Photo: Getty Images)