An old coach used to tell us that if you play not to lose, then you will probably not win. No statement sum ups this past game as much as this to me. The Bengals worked their way into their most comfortable lead of the season, and through a few key blunders, managed to give the game up in the final seconds.
The key blunders were:
1. Fall on the football instead of trying to score. We as fans scratch our heads when we watch the professionals who have been playing the game their whole lives, forget the fundamentals. When there is a loose ball, your first priority is to secure it. The Bengals failed to do this and gave the Texans life. Bad decisions by the Bengals defense to try and pick up the ball here.
2. The false start in the 4th quarter on 4th and 1. Maybe the Bengals were actually going to run a play. However, the O-Line jumped and made the decision that the Bengals needed to punt the ball away. You could argue they jumped because the defense hopped into the neutral zone and you would have a good argument. But as the wordy Hochuli pointed out “The defender that jumped was too far away from the false start” (which just sounds like BS to me.)
3. The failure of the Bengals to cover the tight end or running back when doing the short crossing routes. This burned the Bengals in the 4th, but was the same all game. The middle of the field was a weak spot for the defense. Receivers were wide open when running this route and Zimmer and the defense failed to adjust to it.
Lastly, I hope the Bernard Scott VS. Cedric Benson debate is finally put to bed. What is still clear to me is that Benson can carry the team while Bernard Scott contributes sporadically. Sure, he can be flashy, and has the potential to break some runs, but Benson can be counted on for the hard yards. When Benson was in the game the offense moved. When Scott was in they stalled. Rarely is Benson caught for a loss, mush less a 4 yd loss. Scott is not the every down back many Bengals fans claim him to be.
We have talked about it on the site and probably will for the end of the season. The Bengals can still make the playoffs, but it is no longer in their hands. Sure, teams can lose and the Bengals could be pushed back up to the wildcard spot, but honestly, it is not likely.
It is ok to be disappointed, although this team overperformed this entire season (based on many peoples preseason expectations) we knew they had a chance to make the postseason. I for one am pissed about how they played on Sunday in the second half. I hope they are also.