The Cincinnati Bengals fell flat in prime time for a ninth straight appearance on Sunday Night Football, and the result was a disappointing blowout loss.
Kansas City rolled to a 45-10 win Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, taking a three-score lead into halftime and quickly putting the game out of reach early in the third quarter with a first-drive touchdown and interception return for another score on the Bengals’ next play from scrimmage.
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Not much went right Sunday. The Bengals gave up 551 yards of offense and managed a season-low number of points against one of the worst defenses in the league. Cincinnati has now lost two in a row and fell to 4-3, losing its grip on first place in the AFC North.
Here is a look at the Week 7 report card grades:
The Good: The one time the Bengals seemed committed to the run, they ended up with their lone touchdown. Joe Mixon had an eight-yard run on 1st-and-5 after a penalty and converted a third down later in the drive.
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The Bad: The Bengals ran the ball just 13 times for 50 yards through the third quarter (Mixon had all of those but one was on a 20-yard carry, so he averaged 2.7 yards per carry before that) against one of the worst run defenses in the league, and they finished with 19 carries for 65 yards. More of a commitment to the ground game could have helped a worn down defense.
Key Play: The Bengals’ longest run came when they were already trailing 38-7. Mixon ran for 20 yards on the first play of a drive that ended in a field goal, but by then, it was too little, too late.
The Good: Andy Dalton and A.J. Green had their usual good chemistry. Green finished with 117 yards on seven catches, including a long of 31 yards. C.J. Uzomah’s touchdown catch was a solid play; he broke off his coverage to get open in the end zone, making it 14-7 in the second quarter and giving the Bengals a ray of hope after a slow start.
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The Bad: Dalton flat out missed his receivers on numerous occasions and couldn’t get anything going with anyone besides Green. Mixon had a couple great one-handed catches when he had to extend himself or cut back on the ball but ended up tackled right after the reception. Dalton completed 15 of 29 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice.
Key Play: Three straight incomplete passes after the two-minute warning (just after Kansas City took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter) negated an opportunity to cut the deficit before halftime. Instead, the Bengals punted and gave up more points. Dalton’s pick-six on his first play from scrimmage in the third quarter was the dagger.
The Good: On the drive Kansas City ended up missing a 53-yard field goal, the Bengals limited the Chiefs to a one-yard run and a carry for loss.
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The Bad: The Bengals gave up 198 yards rushing, including 86 yards to Kareem Hunt, and missed tackles were an issue. Hunt had a 21-yard run to set up the Chiefs’ first touchdown and also added his own touchdown run in the third quarter.
Key Play: Hunt broke a tackle by Dre Kirkpatrick and jumped over Jessie Bates on a 2nd-and-10 for a 21-yard gain to put the Chiefs on the 5-yard line and set up the first score.
The Good: The one drive the Chiefs didn’t score on in the first half, the pass defense came up with some big stops and Kansas City ended up missing a 53-yard field goal. William Jackson had a pass breakup, Vontaze Burfict made a tackle for loss on a screen pass and then Jackson had coverage on a deep pass that originally was ruled a catch but was overturned before the missed kick. Shawn Williams intercepted a pass in the third quarter but it was already 38-10 by then.
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The Bad: First-year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns, and his receivers were open all game. It was his sixth straight 300-yard passing performance. Missed tackles, like in the running game, were a big issue.
Key Play: On 3rd-and-6, Demetrius Harris broke to the end zone, wide open, for a 17-yard touchdown reception to make it 21-7 with 1:55 left in the half.
The Good: Kevin Huber had another strong game, averaging 51.6 yards per punt, including a 60-yarder to the Chiefs’ 8-yard line on his first. He had four punts inside the 20 and two of them inside the 10, and there was just one penalty on teams.
The Bad: Kansas City didn’t punt at all, so Alex Erickson’s only returns came on three kickoffs. Four kicks went for touchbacks, and Erickson’s long return was for 28 yards, so he didn’t get much opportunity to help with field position.
Key Play: Clayton Fejedelem fumbled on what appeared to be a fake punt to put the Chiefs on the Cincinnati 32-yard line, and they needed just four plays to extend their lead to 14-0 with 13:12 left in the second quarter. Head coach Marvin Lewis said during the post-game press conference, it was a miscommunication.
The Good: Lewis has been winning challenges this season and that continued Sunday night with the catch that was reversed before the missed field goal.
The Bad: When the Bengals went three-and-out on the opening drive, it quickly became clear they didn’t come ready to play and that reflects on the preparation this week. The offense was held to a season-low 10 points by a struggling defense, which means something was off with the play calling.
Key Play: After the Chiefs went up 21-7 with 1:55 left in the second quarter, Cincinnati punted from its own 43-yard line. A more aggressive approach on 4th-and-7 might have been worth the risk, especially since Kansas City then went on and scored again anyway on a 72-yard drive. A short field wouldn’t have made a difference if the Bengals didn’t convert.
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