I thought the Bengals had a good shot at coming home from Denver at 2-0 and in the driver’s seat of the AFC North. And had they taken care of business and punched in a TD after stripping the ball from Kyle Orton at the Denver 14 yard line instead of settling for a field goal, they would have. So I have to give a hat tip to Denver’s defense — banged up as they were — for playing a much better game than I thought they would.
But despite the disappointing outcome, this loss did not have the same anemic, limp feel that so many of the losses in 2010 did. In a year where watching for growth is more the focus than wins, there were some encouraging moments in this game.
This team does not quit on itself. Remember last year’s loss to Buffalo when they did quit? I still want to gag when I think about it. But after going down 17-3 in the 3rd quarter and struggling on offense, they picked themselves up and fought their way back. They believe in each other. More than anything else, that encourages me for the future of this team.
Andy Dalton can throw the ball. He went 27/41 for 332 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. That is impressive for a guy in his second NFL game. He showed that the Bengals do not have to be one-dimensional to move the ball. This game should be big for Dalton’s confidence as a passer. Keep stretching him and allowing him to grow.
The performances by Dalton and Cam Newton so far this year are a tribute to how much the college game has progressed in the last few years. The old paradigm that QBs need to sit a year has to change.
Let me say it this way. Who would you rather have make your next start: 2-game vet Andy Dalton, or 17-year vet Kerry Collins? ‘Nuff said.
Andy Dalton looks good running the hurry-up offense. Really good. He had the Bronco defense on their heels. Gruden needs to use it to open each half as well as close them.
A.J. Green is extraordinary. I was agape at his touchdown catch. The footwork was incredible. (The announcer’s insistence that there must be some angle that would show his second foot came down out-of-bounds made it all the sweeter.)
Creating turnovers = creating opportunities. I had nearly forgotten what it feels like to be the team taking the ball away.
I can’t be a homer, though. Denver showed several problems that the Bengals have to address as well.
The running game will struggle if they cannot run right. Denver figured out quickly that the Bengals did not want to run behind Clint Boling, and they pounded the left side of the line.
Denver’s strategy was simple: stop Benson and stop Gresham. And they did it. San Francisco will employ the same strategy. Jay Gruden has to find a way to open up the field using those two as bait.
1-of-11 on 3rd down is simply brutal. If they can’t run to move the chains, they aren’t going to do much… beside make sure Kevin Huber stays busy.
Does anyone on the Bengals understand the whole “Bernard Scott is our change-of-pace back” concept? In two games he has 6 carries. Up the middle. *facepalm*
A team that wants to be defined by its defense can’t get gashed and torched like that. The D had plenty of good moments, but they had far too many bad moments. Giving up a 15-play, 80-yard drive for a TD set the tone for the entire game.