Cincinnati Bengals Mistakes Prove Costly Against Los Angeles Chargers

The Cincinnati Bengals fell behind 24-0 to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium and it proved to be too much to overcome. This was an extremely important game for both teams in terms of a playoff birth and seeding in the AFC. The Chargers came out and could do nothing wrong to start the game. Justin Herbert threw touchdowns to three different receivers with 10:12 still left in the second quarter. The Bengals did come to life right before the half and got within striking distance at 24-13. The offense couldn’t really get into a rhythm the entire game and Joe Mixon only managed 54 yards on 19 carries. Cincinnati committed four turnovers including a backbreaking fumble by Mixon that was returned for a touchdown to seal the game. Making matters worse, the Bengals had some important injuries to key players. Starting linebacker and defensive signal-caller, Logan Wilson had to leave the game with a shoulder injury and quarterback Joe Burrow dislocated his pinky finger on his throwing hand in the first quarter but would finish the game.

Cincinnati Bengals Mistakes Prove Costly Against Los Angeles Chargers

The Bengals have had inconsistent play for stretches throughout the 2021 season. Against the Chargers, this inconsistency reared its ugly head again. Turnovers and lack of focus in key moments have been recurring themes in each of the Bengals five losses. Burrow threw a beautiful ball on a go route to Ja’Marr Chase in the first quarter that would’ve been an easy 70-yard touchdown. Chase bobbled the ball, tipped it up and it turned into an interception for the Chargers.

These game-changing plays swing momentum. Limiting negative plays is the most important facet this young Bengals team still needs to overcome.

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Putting up a Fight

Although the Bengals were down early, they did show some serious resolve the entire game. They’d eventually claw back to get the game to 24-22 after the defense forced several turnovers against the Chargers. The Bengals were driving to take the lead when disaster stuck with the aforementioned Mixon fumble and return for a touchdown. Even though this play was the nail in the coffin, the Bengals can still take some valuable lessons from the defeat. Cincinnati’s playoff hopes are very much alive being one game back of Baltimore for the division and are currently the seventh seed for the wild card.

Bouncing Back

The sign of a good team is the ability to bounce back after tough losses, correct mistakes, and win your next game. This has been the Bengals formula following a defeat this season. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson noted after the loss, “How you respond is really important. I don’t see anybody hanging their heads in the locker room. I think we knew we can’t have these kind of errors to go where we want to go. The resilience of this football team I’m confident in and so it’s on to the next.” In the tumultuous nature of the NFL and now a 17 game season, the proper mindset is crucial. If this team can clean up their mistakes, they’ll be mighty dangerous the last five weeks of the season.

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