Turnovers and Penalties at the Heart of Bengals Loss to Da Bears


First game of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals was against the Chicago Bears. Marc Trestman, the former Montreal Allouettes coach, made his regular season debut as DA Bears coach. This is a season where the Bengals should be one of the best and many analysts believe they will take the AFC North.

It was a heck of a game.  The Bears drew first blood to take the lead 7-0, but after the touchdown by Martellus Bennett, the Bengals took the first half into their hands. AJ Green would get two touchdowns in favor of Cincinatti, then with less than 15 seconds left the Bears would kick a long field goal to make it 14-10 at the half. The Bengals did a horrible job at slowing down the Bears before the half virtually giving Chicago three points for free. Yes, I understand it was a 58-yard field goal, but even the CBS analysts thought Cincy should have done a better job at holding them back.  Take that as you will.

After halftime, the Bengals took charge again with great rushing touchdown, by BenJarvus Green-Ellis to make it 21-10. The Bears would close the gap thanks to a touchdown by running back Matt Forte, but that wouldn’t be the end of the game.

The Bengals seemed to be willing themselves to hold the lead at any cost, and after Jay Cutler threw and interception right into the arms of Vontaze Burficit, it seemed like the Bengals were going to attempt to end the game then and there.

However, it’s amazing how momentum can shift so quickly in football.   Right after the Bengals intercepted the ball, Mohamed Sanu fumbled the ball and the Bears got it back. Then for what seemed like ages, the Bears marched down the field and scored to take the lead once again. During that scoring drive the Bengals had to waste two timeouts – yes, you heard me, two timeouts – why? Because the Bengals had too many players on the field two times and had to correct it before it was too late. In hindsight, they should have just taken the stupid penalty seeing as the Bears scored anyway.

Cincy could have run away with this game and, right after Burfict got the interception off of Cutlers pass, it almost seemed like the game was won and done. Of course it was not meant to be, as the Bengals had a three and out when they finally got the ball and the Bears would run the clock out. Cincinnati had chance to get the ball at least one more time, but Rey Maualuga took an unnecessary roughness penalty and that ended the game 24-21, in favor of the Bears. Dumb penalties factored into this loss; the Bengals had 8 penalties in the game, not a ridiculous amount, but way too many to win a game in general.

Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer are most likely going to tear their defense a new one after that poor showing. This doesn’t mean the offense gets a free pass – though AJ Green deserves one.  Green had 9 receptions with two touchdowns and 162 yards receiving, so his pass is warranted. Green-Ellis had a terrible moment in the game where he caught the ball, lost it, and the bears intercepted it.  Don’t forget Sanu’s fumble (I’m sure I won’t for a while) and again the really stupid penalties taken during the game. Stuff like that doesn’t lead to winning – it leads to losing and having a very annoyed fan base waiting for you to come home.

I sure hope the Bengals look at this game and learn from it, because they have a big test next week waiting for them. They will open at home against the always-tough (though not yesterday) Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nicks Notes:

The Bengals had some impressive drives during the game, as they would score two touchdowns on two drives that were over 90 yards. It’s nice to that pressure in their own zone doesn’t affect Dalton as much as it used to.

Although I would have been happier to see Marc Trestmen lose today against the Bengals, I wan’t to congratulate him on his first win as an NFL head coach.

The Bengals might have to look for another number two wide receiver. This isn’t a knock on Sanu, but his confidence seems a bit shaken and I wonder how many passes he’ll get next week from Dalton. I know the team is has Green and two good Tight Ends, but once in a while you need a top wideout to compliment with Green – stay tuned on that one.

Tyler Eifert was second in team receiving with 47 yards.  While it doesn’t seem that impressive, watching this rookie tight end makes any Bengals fan excited for the present and future. He’s the real deal and makes the teams offense much scarier than it used to be.

This is only the first game of the season and Bengals fans need to remember they weren’t fantastic at the beginning of last season either. There’s a lot more football to watch and I truly believe that this game may have woken up a sleeping tiger, watch out NFL, the Bengals are awake now.


Feel Free to leave comments below.  You can follow me on twitter @NVincelliWhile you are at it you can follow the site @lastwordonsport.

Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? Find more info at our “Join Our Team” page.

Football fans…check out our two partnered NFL podcasts – Thursday Night Tailgate Radio and Overtime Ireland.  Both shows bring you interesting commentary, critical analysis and fantastic guests including former and current NFL players, coaches and personalities.

Main photo credit: teamleaks.com, CC