Tuesday Trenches: A Kick in the Teeth

Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Bengals gave the Packers everything they could handle but just couldn’t make that one more play needed to pull off the victory.

I’m fairly sure I can watch NFL football for the next 50 years and never see so many field goals missed.

If you don’t know, and I’m sure you do, Mason Crosby and Evan McPherson combined to miss five-straight potential game-winning field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday.

In the end, it was the Green Bay Packers who defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-22 near the end of overtime after Crosby finally decided he’d had enough.

Here are a few things that went right, a couple that went wrong and a look ahead to next week’s opponent, the Detroit Lions.

Chase-ing Glory

Ja’Marr Chase put up incredible numbers again, catching six passes on nine targets for 159 yards and his fifth touchdown of the season. He had one drop, but made up for it by catching a 70-yard pass at the end of the first half to go into the locker room with some momentum.

I think it’s safe to say the Penei Sewell-Chase debate can officially be put to bed. Not to say Sewell won’t be a good tackle in the NFL, but Bengals tackles Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff have been solid. Had the Bengals drafted Sewell at No. 5, they lose Chase, and it’s safe to say there isn’t another wide receiver of his caliber in this draft.

Only three wide receivers have won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in the last 20 years, but as of right now, I would think Chase is the clear favorite.

The Adams Family

It’s not a secret that Packers wide out Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the league. The Bengals knew it coming in, and if they had a plan to keep him contained, it was a bad one. Adams shredded the Bengals secondary to the tune of 11 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown. It didn’t matter who covered Adams, he caught passes when deep in double coverage, short and across the middle like the Bengals defense didn’t even look to see where he was lined up before the snap.

The secondary was fully healthy for the first time this season, with Jessie Bates, Chidobe Awuzie and Trae Waynes all in the game. The way Adams went off, you wouldn’t have known any of them were out there. Awuzie did hold his own when matched up with Adams, but overall, the defense failed badly to slow the All-Pro down.

The Jimmy Hendrickson Experience

I complained when the Bengals let Carl Lawson walk in free agency and signed Trey Hendrickson to replace him. I thought Hendrickson benefited from others with the Saints more than he created for himself.

I’m happy I was wrong. Hendrickson racked up two sacks, a quarterback hit and a hurry on future hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

Hendrickson now has 4.5 sacks so far this season, and he’s on pace for a whopping 15 sacks if he keeps up his current pace.

Pick the World Up

Joe Burrow completed 68% of his passes and, overall, had a good game on Sunday. However, he did throw two ugly interceptions.

One was on an attempted deep throw down the right sideline as he was rolling right. Throwing deep on the run is tough if your name isn’t Patrick Mahomes. One thing Burrow doesn’t lack is confidence, but that throw will likely be intercepted more often than not unless the receiver is completely uncovered.

The second interceptions came on the Bengals’ first drive in overtime. Tyler Boyd ran a quick choice route, and turned out when Burrow clearly thought he was going to turn in and keep going. Burrow through a pass right to linebacker De’Vondre Campbell like he was aiming right for him. Luckily, the Packers weren’t able to capitalize on the mistake.

Kickin’ Ain’t Easy

What a day for the kickers. Crosby missed an extra point and three consecutive field goals, including one in overtime. McPherson missed two in a row, both of which would have won the game for the Bengals. There wasn’t any sort of gale force winds swirling around on the field that I know of, so we’re just going to have to chalk it up to a weird fluke thing.

I have no doubt that McPherson is going to be very good and have a long, successful career as the Bengals’ kicker. I hope he lets this go and forgets about it.

I Need Another Ex-Sample!

That’s a long and stupid title for this segment. After the day C.J. Uzomah had against the Jaguars, I would like an explanation as to why tight end Drew Sample got three targets and Uzomah got two. In fact, I’d like an explanation as to why Sample is getting any targets. As far as I can tell, he was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft because he was a good blocker.

I think the Bengals should let him block when he’s on the field. I also think if the Bengals are going to have a tight end on the field, it should be Uzomah.

Looking Ahead

The 3-2 Bengals head back out on the road up I-75 to Detroit to face off against the 0-5 Lions. Here’s what they can expect in the Motor City.

The Lions have been bad, and replacing a quarterback like Matt Stafford with Jared Goff hasn’t helped things. What hasn’t helped Goff, though, is not having a lot of help at the skill positions outside of tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hopefully, the Bengals secondary can bounce back after they struggled against Adams.
D’Andre Swift has been excellent when it comes to catching the ball out of the backfield so far this year. The second-year back has already caught 29 passes so far this season, which leads all running backs in the NFL. I hope Logan Wilson and the other linebackers are ready.
The Lions defense is giving up 4.4 yards per carry and has allowed the 10th most yards on the ground so far this season. There shouldn’t be much of a need for Burrow to have to air it out often as the Bengals running game can hopefully put plenty of points on the board.
It will be fun to watch the Bengals defensive ends go up against rookie tackle Sewell. Hopefully Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard can put any lingering doubts that he should have been selected instead of chase to bed.

To wrap things up, some random Week 5 thoughts

I saw several tackles behind the line of scrimmage by different defensive backs on quick passes from Rodgers to his wide receivers in the flat.
In the Bengals last drive of regulation, they were sitting at 3rd down with five yards to go on the Packers’ 42-yard line. They dialed up a Samaje Perine rush up the middle for three yards, forcing the Bengals to attempt a 57-yard field goal, which McPherson missed. I’m glad Taylor and company had the confidence in their rookie kicker, but Burrow was also hitting on nearly 80% of his passes at the time. I would have liked to see a pass for a first down instead, which would have set up a shorter kick.
Rodgers had running back AJ Dillon wide open out of the backfield all afternoon long. Dillon finished with four receptions, 49 yards and a touchdown.
How is an offense this loaded with talent averaging only 22.8 points per game? They scored 30 points or more twice in the first five games of the 2020 season, and that was without Chase and with a worse offensive line.
I was happy that Joe Mixon was healthy enough to play, but I’m not sure he was very effective. He only averaged 3.3 yards per carry to Perine’s 5.4 yards per carry. Maybe it would have been better to feed Perine and let Mixon sit and get fully healthy for the Lions game.
Trae Waynes hurt his hamstring AGAIN on the last play of the game. So there’s that.
The secondary is so much better when Bates is in the game. Pay the man.
I’d like to see Mixon catch the ball out of the backfield a lot more often than he does moving forward once he’s healthy.
Burrow was sacked twice on Sunday. One was given up by Williams, which is his first of the season, and the other was on a terrible attempted blitz pickup by Perine. Do you miss Giovani Bernard?
Watching this game was tough. The Bengals could have, and probably should have won. However, it would also be good to remember the Bengals are still somewhat in a rebuilding phase and Burrow is only playing in his 15th game in the NFL, which technically makes him a rookie. I found more to be excited about than things to be upset about. I think they’re trending in the right direction.

Who Dey!

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