What a tough win we just got in Cincinnati. I honestly was sweating it when we had our poor 3rd quarter. That's something we've done in the past handful of years and not recovered from. The momentum loss was pretty steep and had completely swung in the Bengal's favor. Luckily our guys know how to just leave the bad plays behind them and move forward.
Offensively I thought we did a good job against a pretty darn solid defense. The score in this case really doesn't do justice to how well the Cincy defense played. Their front 7 were pretty dominant, but luckily for us their DBs turned out to be a weakness that we were able to exploit to some extent. Our run game was overall somewhat poor, though the job they did in the 4th quarter was noteworthy...the successful runs late in the game secured the victory in my eyes.
Defensively I thought we did a decent job against a lesser opponent. Cincy lives off their big plays down the field in the passing game and at times we let them have them. That style of play is overall inconsistent and late in the game they weren't able to do what they wanted to get points on the board.
One other thing I'd point out from this game is just the difference in quarterbacks. This was a great example of how much difference having a seasoned quarterback running your offense can make. Dalton looked pretty darn good until the game was on the line. Then he looked vulnerable and unsettled. That was how their whole team ended up playing. You can't have your offensive leader having those "deer-in-the-headlights" eyes or yelling at the refs about them handing us the game. Andy Dalton = good arm, poor leadership, poor clutch performance.
- Willis McGahee pulls a Ball early by running into a pile expecting a hole that wasn't there. He looked pretty mediocre all game against a very stout run defense. I thought he looked like his usual self in the 4th quarter though...fresh and powerful vs a worn out D.
- Deymarius Thomas ran a perfectly timed out route early in the game (I love seeing this kind of progress from him and you should too). In the 4th quarter he forced Adam Jones to Interfere by having dominant position.
- Peyton Manning one-hops a ball!? That had to be the ghost of Tebow past or something. Did anyone see him get hit? I didn't note anything special happening to cause this.
- Manning's 1st INT: Decker didn't get to his route quick enough. The timing was off, not the throw.
- Manning's 2nd INT: Stupid throw off a poor play call. That side of the field had 3 receiving options all deep down the field. There should have been an underneath crossing route as an outlet or something to that effect.
- His fade TD to Decker was gorgeous placement.
- Don't know what they are seeing in the run game early – Cincy's front 7 beating our guys every run. They showed great dedication to it though...kept using it throught the game. The O-Line was still looking bad in the third quarter at run blocking. They just weren't able to get a push on guys to make some holes open up.
- Eric Decker mans his way into the end zone with just enough of a stiff arm. He really smells blood in the red zone if you haven't noticed.
- Big play in the 4th – breaks 3 guys tackles, then runs into Stoke down the field. Pick a lane dude!
- Fade route TD was a supreme job of concentration, benefit of height, and having great hands. The CB couldn't have covered him better.
- Here's my play-call gripe of the game...we're backed up on the 1. Our calls go run, run, and suck eggs. Our running game to that point in the game had been awful. Who thought it would be a good idea? PA pass and get out from the 1. Even just getting to the 5 yard line gives us room to punt. By the way, the "suck eggs" was Manning's INT. See above for my thoughts on that.
- Joel Dreessen's TD was taking candy from a baby. The defense was so lost covering our WR and RB they lost Dreesen. The cool thing was he lined up as a WR, cut in, then rolled out and back behind the defense.
- Wesley Woodyard all over screen early. Like the rest of the season, he looked like a stud again today. In both coverage and run defense he was doing his job well.
- Tony Carter almost had a pick. Again in the 3rd quarter he made a great break on the ball. At this point, I wouldn't bring back Tracy Porter. Carter is playing just as well as him if not better...his gambles seem less risky from what I've seen as well which to me is a bonus.
- Chris Harris shows another great CB blitz that rushed a throw by Dalton early in the game. 2 plays later superb coverage on 3rd down at the marker. All day his coverage was like a blanket honestly. He even was on AJ Green late in the game and had him on lock.
- Justin Bannan bats one down, next play stunts and forces Andy Dalton to run by taking away his passing lane. Yeah he's a stop-gap, but he's filling in very well at NT for us.
- Rahim Moore – fantastic TFL on a screen play. I noticed him too in coverage today being right where he needed to be. Him and Mike Adams are making me less worried about our safety position the past couple of weeks, but that may be due to the quality of opposition.
- Von Miller's pass rush is just ferocious. He has a non-stop motor that paid of today.
- Champ Bailey honestly looked pedestrian against the fade route TD he gave up. The top 3 WR in the league in my opinion won the day vs a top 3 CB in the league. INT was a gift from the D-Line. I love me some Champ, but this was the worst I've seen him in a long time. He looked like he didn't have the quickness to cover Green which isn't saying much...Green is a supremely talented WR.
- 4th and 1 conversion by Cincy was our guys not being ready for the play. They should have lined up and acted like the same play was going to happen and instead got caught with their pants down.
- Our coverage units worried me a bit in this game. The first return was just the Bengals doing a great job of blocking along with a good angle by the returner. The return after our first TD: our guys were filling lanes to block the middle and didn't adjust to the ball being on the left side. This led to our guys being outnumbered by blockers to that side and giving up a lot of yards.
- Trindon Holliday showed what he's capable of in the return game. If he finds a hole, he has the speed to make the defenders have no angles to get to him. That play alone shows he's worth developing.
- WITCH HUNT ALERT!!!: Lance Ball was absolutely moronic on the 1 yard return. He needed to get the hell out of the way so Holliday could get the ball up the field and instead derps himself into a coma. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, but every week this guy reinforces my opinion that he's a complete waste of a roster spot on this team. He adds nothing special to this team and consistently takes away from it instead.