August 17, 2017

Second Take: 5 Thoughts on Bengals/Texans

Property of the Associated Press

1. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Bengals built a great record early in the season and have blown it, losing a few games in heartbreaking fashion. As long-suffering Bengals fans, it often feels like we are witnesses in a sad, neverending tragedy in which the actors sometimes change, but the end result stays the same. I’m not quite as raging mad as many of my Bengal brethren, but I certainly understand their pain. At some point, there has to be a happy ending. Doesn’t there? Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait about 100 years like the Red Sox did.

2. This loss falls on everyone – including the fans. Yes, there were failures on offense and defense and special teams too, but imagine how difficult that final drive would have been if T.J. Yates was battling a sellout crowd too. Perhaps there would have been a false start or a tackle struggling to hear the count and a defensive end getting an extra step. Those little things can make the difference in a ballgame. Yes, I know ticket prices are extraordinarily high and Mike Brown has presided over a pitiful stretch as an owner, but certainly there are some fans who could go to the games and don’t. They deserve some of the blame too.

3. I haven’t gotten a good second look at Adam Jones’ critical pass interference penalty, but my initial reaction was that I’d seen far worse not called. In my mind – and I’ll admit I’m certainly biased – it better be an obvious penalty because it will decide the game. I’m not sure it was obvious. And Jones himself thought the same thing.

“He pushed me. I did this (to his finger),” Jones told, quickly pinching a reporter’s finger. “I didn’t grab it. I have no excuses.”

Asked if he thought it was a touchy call, Jones said, “What do you think? (12) seconds on the clock. What do you think? Of course I think it was a touchy call. It was on me. It wasn’t a hold.”

In a way, it was a microchasm of the Bengals’ season, where they haven’t been getting many breaks as far as penalty flags and officials are concerned. Their luck has to change at some point, but who knows when that will be?

4. I think the last drive would have been dramatically different if Carlos Dunlap were on the field. In obvious passing situations, good pass rushers cause havoc. And Dunlap is an excellent rusher. He would have managed a sack, a pressure, or at the very least some consistent harassment on the final drive. Unfortunately, Cincinnati’s other rushers weren’t able to do enough to prevent rookie T.J. Yates from reaching the endzone.

5. I know I’ve written it before, but I’d like to see Andrew Hawkins with a few more touches. Hawkins ran the ball once for four yards and added 22 yards on his one reception. He simply makes plays and it’d be nice to see him get some chances for a few more.

Extra Point:  I’ll get into this more in another post, but Cincinnati’s playoff chances look rather murky at this point. The Jets presently have a game lead and also will hold the tiebreaker unless they lose the season finale in Miami. (Perhaps they could lose at Philly next week and against the Giants in Week 16, but they’re playing extremely well right now). If the Bengals, Jets, and Titans finish in a three-way tiebreaker, it appears the Titans would advance based on a better conference record. Thus, the Bengals will need a somewhat perfect storm of two Jets losses to the NFC (or a loss to Miami),  a Titans loss somewhere among Indy, Jacksonville, and Houston (who has already clinched a spot), and an unbeaten finish. Yep, that’s pretty much it.

And I’m not sure I feel good about it.



  1. It is sad to see the Bengals’ playoff hopes beginning to swirl down the PBS crapper. But at some point they have to step up and earn it. They can’t get to the post-season losing to all of the good teams. And how confident would we feel if they somehow managed to sneak into the post-season going 1-5 against playoff-caliber teams anyway?

    That said, it’s not a given that the Texans will lay down against the Titans. It is very likely that they will need a win that week to secure a first-round bye. Then again, so might the Ravens.

  2. The Bengals screwed the pooch over the last two weeks. They went 0-2 in big games they needed. One was an ugly blow out loss, and the other was thanks to critical breakdowns at critical times in a game they lead throughout. The bottom line is they had two chances to prove they belonged and they whiffed both times. Ergo, they have proven that they don’t, in fact, belong.

    I will be pulling for them to win out, but even if they do I doubt they get in at this point, and frankly while I expect a win next Sunday in St. Louis, I wouldn’t count Arizona as an automatic “W” with the way they are playing right now. They’ve shown me that they aren’t playoff-ready right now. It’s sad to type, but its true.

    PS-Andrew Hawkins does amazing things every time he touches the football. He turns 3rd and forevers into first downs. He is quick like a mongoose out there, and too small for defenders to get a hand on. Gruden has some nice little plays for him, but I have to wonder what he could do if given more of a role in the offense. Why do we continue to tolerate that inconsistency of Simpson and Caldwell when Hawkins is money 100% of the time?? It’s beyond me.

  3. They need to let Andrew Hawkins try punt returns, tate is a bust, and Hawkins is scary similar to desean Jackson