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Drew Sample Cincinnati Bengals Jersey
CINCINNATI (AP) — A four-interception Germaine Pratt Cincinnati Bengals Jersey , six-sack game usually leaves defensive coordinators thrilled.Not this one.Cincinnati let an 18-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 37-34 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. It was among the worst defensive performances in Bengals history — the Bucs piled up 576 yards and had touchdown passes of 60 and 72 yards .“There’s not many times I’ve been involved in a game where we had four turnovers, you score a touchdown, have six sacks and you’re in a dogfight,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Monday. “Usually it doesn’t happen that way.”There’s nothing ordinary about this defense.The Bengals (5-3) enter their bye week with one of the NFL’s best records despite having the worst defense in the league. They’re one of nine teams with at least five wins, trailing Pittsburgh by percentage points for the AFC North lead.The defense has played a leading role in the wins, giving up a lot of yards, but scoring four touchdowns off turnovers.A fumble return for a touchdown saved an opening win in Indianapolis. Joe Flacco’s fumble closed out a win over the Ravens the following Thursday. Touchdown returns off a fourth-quarter fumble and interception provided a win over the Dolphins.Four interceptions of Jameis Winston — one returned for a score — put the Bengals up 34-16 late in the third quarter Sunday. Then, it all fell apart. The Bucs tied it on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s touchdown pass with 1:05 left. Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal on the final play won it.“We gave up 500 yards,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “It’s a win, but it’s not a great win.”The Bengals gave up 551 yards during a 45-10 loss in Kansas City the previous week. It’s the first time in franchise history that a Cincinnati defense has allowed 500 yards in back-to-back games. The 576 yards allowed Sunday were the fourth-most in club history.At the season’s midpoint, the Bengals have given up the most yards and most points in the NFL. They also rank last in third-down defense. They’re on pace to give up 7,164 yards and 474 points, both of which would be club records. The Saints are the only team to allow 7,000 yards in a season — they allowed 7,042 in 2012. The 1981 Baltimore Colts hold the record for most points allowed with 533.Injuries have played a role. The Bengals were missing cornerback Darqueze Dennard and linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil. All three are expected back at some point. Pass-rush specialist Carl Lawson suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee in the first quarter.The long passes were particularly troubling, with receivers getting open beyond the coverage for easy scores. It’s been a recurring problem that figures in those enormous yardage totals. Antonio Brown’s 31-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left gave the Steelers a 28-21 win on Oct. 14, when Pittsburgh piled up 481 yards.Instead of closing out games Germaine Pratt Jersey 2019 , the Bengals have given up big plays in the fourth quarter.“When you strike up the band like that, it’s hard,” coach Marvin Lewis said Monday. “That’s supposed to be us ringing the gong, not the other team.”PRICE WILL STARTLewis said rookie center Billy Price will regain the starting job when he’s able to play, which could come after the bye week. Price partially tore a ligament in his right foot during the second game of the season and was in a protective boot for a month. He rejoined practice on a limited basis last week.MUM ABOUT HUELewis said he hadn’t yet been in contact with Hue Jackson, who was fired as the Browns head coach on Monday. Jackson was Lewis’ offensive coordinator before taking the job in Cleveland, and the two are close. The Bengals offered Jackson an assistant coaching job after he was fired by the Raiders in 2011.Asked whether Jackson could rejoin the Bengals in some capacity now that he’s out of a job again, Lewis said, “I’m not going to make a headline. It’s unfortunate. Anything else?” Even though the Bengals would make the playoffs if the season ended today, there is still a weird feeling about the team. Their latest win against the Buccaneers felt more like a loss, and the Bengals are coming off of a stretch of three bad games in a row.But there are some good things about the team to write home about. The Bengals entered their bye week with a record of 5-3 and could still win the division. There are only three games left on the schedule against winning opponents, so the Bengals should get tonine or 10 wins, which is what we predicted before the season began.Still, if the Bengals want to get back to the playoffs, there are some things they need to change. But what do we know about the Bengals eight games into the season? What have we learned?The offense has missed Tyler Eifert and John RossComing into Week 1, the Bengals offense looked unstoppable. Andy Dalton had plenty of targets, and defenses were having to worry about covering A.J. Green Germaine Pratt Jersey Mens , Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and Tyler Eifert. For the latter two, the plaguing injuries were gone and reports from training camp were all positive.So what happened?The Bengals beat the Colts in Indianapolis during Andrew Luck’s first game in over a year. Then, they stomped the Ravens on Thursday night and put up 34 points on that defense. They lost to the Panthers on the first leg of their next road trip, but then turned things around in Atlanta on a 37-point outing from the offense.But then things started to go downhill.The Bengals hosted the Dolphins, but only scored 13 points on offense. Then they hosted the Steelers and only put up 21 points, and then scored only 10 points against the Chiefs the next week—putting together 31 points against two of the worst defenses in the NFL. In Week 8, the Bengals started out strong in the first half against the Buccaneers, but were held to zero points until the last second of regulation.So what changed? Eifert and Ross were both injured in Week 4 and have not been a part of this offense since. Even though Ross did return in Week 7, he had to leave early because he aggravated his injury; so for all intents and purposes, he has not really returned.Before Ross and Eifert were injured, the Bengals’ offense was putting up nearly 30 points a game. Since (including Week 7, when Ross started but barely played), the Bengals have only scored 18 points a game. Sure, there have been other offensive injuries, like Billy Price and Giovani Bernard. But the difference is that these two players have serviceable replacements. No one has been able to fill the holes that Ross and Eifert left.What happened to the depth that we heard about during the preseason?Alex Erickson has been Ross’ replacement Youth Germaine Pratt Jersey , but only has six catches for 36 yards in those four games. Cody Core has also gotten some extra playing time in that stretch, but only has three catches—all of them in garbage time against the Chiefs in Week 7. Josh Malone, who seems like the best fit to replace Ross given his deep play ability, has fallen off the face of the earth. Auden Tate has was relegated to the practice squad after Week 7.Meanwhile, at tight end, Tyler Kroft has also been hurt, and Mason Schreck has been placed on injured reserve, so C.J. Uzomah is the only tight end left who was on the opening day roster. Now the Bengals are fielding Jordan Franks, who started the year on the Bengals’ practice squad and Matt Lengel, who started the year on the Texans’ practice squad.While injuries happen all the time in football, which is always a shame, the Bengals have two gaping holes in their offense. C.J. Uzomah has played fairly well, but is nowhere the threat that Eifert was. And there is no one stepping up in Ross’ place.If the Bengals want to keep pushing to win the division, they need to either find a replacement or find a way to work around the injuries, since we still are not sure when Ross will return.Jessie Bates is a star in the makingThe former second-round pick out of Wake Forest has been a machine on the back end of the defense. In the first half of the season, Bates already has 60 combined tackles (first on the team and 16th in the NFL), three interceptions (tied for most on the team and second in the NFL) White Germaine Pratt Jersey , and a touchdown. He has been a showstopper, only allowing a passer rating of 21.7 when targeted (per Pro Football Focus) and helping create huge stops in the running game.Pro Football Focus has been all about Bates, naming him their AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month and adding him to their Midseason All-Pro team.Bengals’ Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin had Bates in mind when he traded picks with the Chiefs this season, and used their 54th overall pick to grab him. Now, that seems like a very smart move.Right now, Bates seems like one of the few bright spots on defense.Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are worth every cent of their contract extensionsWhat happens when you sign two defensive linemen to multi-year contract extensions that will take them into their mid-thirties? They combine for 13 sacks and 26 QB hits in eight games. That’s money well spent.Even though Geno Atkins was the highest paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL for only about a day, he’s keeping pace with the man that surpassed him, Aaron Donald. Donald and Atkins are the two best at their position and are showing it this season with more than just their bank accounts.As good as Atkins has been, Carlos Dunlap has probably been better. He has more one more sack than his teammate, which puts him at eight in the league.It would be difficult to find a better pass-rush duo in the league right now. In fact, no other duo has more sacks than these two after eight weeks, and they are tied with Donald and Ndamukong Suh for the most in the NFL. That’s great company.The Defense needs to make some improvements right nowWhile Bates has been magnificent and the defensive line’s dynamic duo have been worth every penny, there is still a lot of bad on the defense.The defense just looked flat out ugly in the last two games. Sure, Patrick Mahomes is going to put up points, but the way he dismantled the Bengals’ was just embarrassing. One week later, the Bengals gave up 470 passing yards to a combination of Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston, who was benched for throwing too many interceptions Drew Sample Cincinnati Bengals Jersey , still racked up 276 yards. Then, the Bucs brought in Fitzpatrick who had been benched earlier in the season, and he went nine of his 13 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. So the Bengals took advantage of Winston’s mistakes, but they allowed another the latest case of FitzMagic as a result and squandered an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.While Teryl Austin cares more about wins than stats, he should keep in mind that two of the last three wins came off of last-minute offensive drives, so the Bengals could be 3-5 right now if the offense didn’t bail him out. He would probably care more about his defense in that scenario.But since wins and turnovers are the only thing he cares about, it’s probably better for his mental health that he doesn’t think about yards or points. In terms of yards, the Bengals’ defense is ranked 26th in the run and dead last in the pass. His defense is also 29th in scoring, so he’d better hope that the offense finds a replacement for Ross and Eifert is he wants “the W’s,” which he said is the only stat that counts. If the Bengals don’t want to have the worst defense in NFL history, which they are on pace to do, they’d better figure out something quick before the season gets out of hand.