The Bengals lost. People wrote stuff. Here's what they wrote...
From Jay Morrison, The Athletic...
Anyone who thought Marvin Lewis was going to transform the worst defense in the NFL into something special in the course of a week was kidding himself.
Anyone who thinks he can do it before the season ends might be doing the same after watching what unfolded Sunday at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, where Lewis returned to his roots as a defensive play-caller in the city where he made his name only to be upstaged by a 21-year-old rookie quarterback making his first start.
The Bengals were able to end their NFL record streak of allowing at least 500 yards – a three-game stretch that prompted Lewis to fire defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday – but they still found themselves on the wrong side of history again as Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a 24-21 victory that reshuffled the AFC wild-card race.
From Kevin Patra, NFL.com...
All three phases struggled for Marvin Lewis' team. On special teams, a Randy Bullock's missed 52-yard field goal attempt cost a chance to tie the game. The Bengals' offense sorely misses A.J. Greenand never got into a rhythm. It took great field position in the second half to put points on the board. The Bengals scored back-to-back touchdowns off an interception and a 4th-down stop near midfield. Outside of those short drives, Andy Dalton didn't do much all day. With no run game (19 yards total on 14 carries from Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard), and Green not there to alieve pressure, Cincy generated a paltry 255 total yards with four three-and-outs. The Bengals don't have enough on offense when Green's out.
Lewis took over the Bengals defense after firing DC Teryl Austin last week. It was more of the same, with the Bengals getting gashed by the Ravens on the ground for 258 rushing yards, characterized by missed tackles and wide open gaps up the gut. Lewis' D couldn't get stops against an offense that never threatened to stretch the field with a rookie quarterback making his first start. Staying in the midst of a muddled AFC playoff race is little solace for a team that's quickly sinking.
From Pro Football Focus...
Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn had a rough afternoon, particularly in pass protection. It didn’t matter if the rushers attacked with speed, power or quickness, as he struggled with all three and surrendered a number of pressures.
One positive note for the Bengals offense was the pass blocking of Gio Bernard. He was impressive picking up blitzes throughout the game and surrendered just one pressure in the contest.
Cincinnati’s linebackers struggled to make plays against Baltimore’s running game, which proved to be too much for the defense to overcome. The Bengals linebackers were often hesitant to attack the line of scrimmage and were also unable to work off blocks.
Interior defender Josh Tupou was one of the few bright spots for the Bengals’ defense. Even though Tupou recorded just one tackle, he stood his ground well against the run and Baltimore’s offensive linemen were rarely able to move him off his spot.
From Paul Dehner, Jr. Cincinnati.com...
Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson were the story of the week. How would this work? What would they do? How much impact can two coaches have?
The answer was not much with more historical failures on that side of the ball, this time with the most yards given up on the ground in the Lewis Era.
Turns out, this wasn't about Lewis and Jackson.
This was about a man standing on the sidelines, though. Without A.J. Green, the Bengals offense didn't have enough firepower. It didn't have enough weaponry to overcome the defensive deficiencies, and that's how the Baltimore Ravens pulled off the 24-21 win.
From John Breech, CBS Sports...
The Bengals defense continues to be a disaster. After giving up 500 yards in each of their past three games, they found a new way to be bad by surrendering 265 rushing yards to the Ravens. The performance marked just the second time since 1979 that Cincinnati has surrendered 265 or more yards on the ground. Overall, the Bengals surrendered 403 yards of offense and they're still on pace to give up more yardage than any other defense in NFL history.
From Katherine Terrell, ESPN.com...
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and the rest of the team seemed confident this week that they could turn the season around against the Ravens.
So far, the results are inconclusive.
It wasn’t a total disaster, like the outings against the Chiefs and Saints, and that’s probably why the Bengals’ defensive players weren't hanging their heads in the locker room after the game. The mood certainly was lighter than it had been in the weeks prior to defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s ouster.
“I thought they played their tails off,” Lewis said.
But at the end of the day, a 24-21 loss to the Ravens counts the same as a 51-14 loss to the Saints.
That isn't to say the Bengals shouldn’t take any moral victories out of a close loss to a division rival on the road. If they can learn from it, they have six games left in the season to show that they’re better for it.
Lewis certainly seemed to think that could be the case.
From some guy, The Athletic...
Lewis’ team has never really sustained any kind of consistent goodness. There was a well-played first half before his team had to hold on for dear life in the first Baltimore game, and a great first 30 minutes before a collapse and ultimately, a win that didn’t feel like one against Tampa Bay. They played a solid second half against Miami, they made just enough plays in the final 30 minutes to beat Indy, and even for a while Sunday they played at least competently enough to give themselves a chance.
But the Bengals are not a good football team. They are a team that’s perfectly reflected by its .500 record, the very definition of average, uninspiring and underwhelming, even if they’re listed right there in the “in the hunt” column along with pretty much half of the league. Quality isn’t a requirement for contention in the parity-driven NFL. A team only has to be ordinary to make the playoffs.
The push to be the least-pedestrian is on. Seize the meh.
(Photo: Getty Images)