The Cincinnati Bengals lucked out big time this week. Why? Well for starters, it is not too often that a team can turn the ball over twice, commit 11 penalties for almost 100 yards, and surrender six sacks and still win the game by 21 points. None of the Bengals numbers were pretty the other night (except for BenJarvus Green-Ellis and AJ Green). As an offense they could only muster 249 yards and there were a lot of dropped passes. As Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock were quick to point out, Dalton was playing super-conservative with the football and he failed to hook up with any wide receiver besides AJ Green. The Bengals’ QB only threw for 127 yards and was completing less than 50% of his passes. These numbers simply do not add up… until discovering that the Eagles turned the ball over five times.
Let’s first start off with the positives for Philly: their offensive line seemed to return to 2011 form with the constant pressure they were able to get on Andy Dalton. Brandon Graham had a monster game with 2.5 sacks, plus a forced fumble. Trent Cole was playing possessed and seemed unblock-able at times. The corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie held their ground (especially Asomugha, who did not let up a reception outside of the numbers). Lastly, the Eagles offensive line played surprisingly well. Nick Foles was sacked only once and he had a clean pocket for a majority of the game. Part of this was due to good offensive game-planning by Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg; implementing a lot of screens and quick passes. That was the positive, now on to the one negative: TURNOVERS!!! This is the most frustrating thing for Eagles fans and players because it is nothing that can be helped by acquisitions during the off-season. The talent is definitely on this team; the ball security is not. There was a stretch in this game where the Eagles had turned the ball over four times in five plays. That is almost unthinkable. There is no way a team can win a game if they turn the ball over like that. This contest should not have been a blowout because the Eagles’ defense was playing very well. But at the end of the day, the turnover margin killed the Eagles again. It is hard to single one player out because not one guy turned the ball over more than once. This one turned into a laugher when it should have been a very close game ’til the end.
Cincinnati is able to keep its playoff dreams alive with a win in Philly. Now the team will turn from despising the Cowboys to rooting for them this Sunday. If they can beat the Steelers, then things will look a little bit better for the Bengals. They also luck out in the sense that they basically get a little BYE before playing their most important game of the year (in the Steel City). A win next week would almost guarantee the Bengals a playoff spot. So, the Bengals luck out this week. It is not too often that you draw an opponent that hands you a football game. That is what the Eagles did, and the rough season continues for Philadelphia.