One week after the Bengals were annointed as the latest team that was going to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, Sunday at home they laid a huge egg, dropping an embaressing 38-13 loss to the New England Patriots. Now most of the time, losing to the Pats is in no way something to be embaressed about, but remember, this was a New England team that couldn’t do anything right last week against the Broncos at home, and a Cincy team that was supposed to be the next big thing after a 28-20 win over the arch-rival Steelers in Pittsburgh.
As usual in the NFL, a team that is sky high for one week, comes crashing down the next, and that is exactly what happened to the Bengals on Sunday. Add to that the fact that the Pats felt that coming out and getting some respect and some pride back was of the upmost importance, and you had all the makings of a long day for the Benglas in the Queen City. Marvin Lewis is going to have to take a long look at his defense, as just one week after giving up a ton of yards to the Steelers ground game, this week at home to the Pats they allowed 479 total yards, including 236 rushing, 5.8 yards per carry on 41 rushes.
The Bengals offesne also seemed totally out of sync for the second straight week. Carson Palmer, after two great weeks, has come back to earth over the last two weeks. Against the Pats, he was 20 for 35 for 245 yards. He did not throw a TD, nor a pick, but was unable to get much generated for his team after falling behind 14-6 in the second quarter. The Pats trailed 6-0 in the second quarter, but exploded for 14 points on a Laurence Maroney 11-yard TD run, then a 25-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to Doug Gabriel to make it 14-6 at the half. The crowd at Paul Brown Stadium was somewhat stunned, but things would only get worse.
After Cincy scored on a Rudi Johnson run to cut the lead to 14-13, the Pats went out and scored 24 straight points, led by the huge ground game of Maroney, who accounted for 125 yards on 15 carries and two TD’s. Corey Dillion ran for 67 yards against his former team, and Brady was a bit better than last week, throwing for 188 yards and two TD’s. It will have to be a time for reflection for the Bengals, who suddenly are looking at a one game deficit in the AFC North. They have a bye to work on things, then play at Tampa Bay, at home for Carolina and Atlanta, and then a huge game at Baltimore on November 5th. If Marvin and co. don’t get things straightened out, they could be looking up at the Ravens for sometime to come, and that won’t sit well with the fans that are still expecting Super things from these Bengals.