The Cincinnati Bengals were sure they had the game under control. In a week one matchup with the Chicago Bears, the Bengals had done what they could in the second half to stabilize an 11-point lead in effort to hold onto the victory.
Andy Dalton targeted A.J. Green all day long, and the Bears had virtually no answer for the third year pro. Though he did drop a pass that led to an interception, Green ended the day with nine receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Chicago found it nearly impossible to slow him down.
Where the Bengals had a rough go at it was trying to find help in the passing game beyond just Green. Lining up many times in two tight end sets, Dalton threw to Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham quite a bit. In fact, they both ended with five catches and a combined 82 yards receiving.
Aside from his tight ends, the lack of depth at receiver shone through. Both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu were somewhat absent along the way, with Sanu fumbling and losing the ball in a crucial moment as well. Jones had one catch; Sanu hauled in four for a total of just 19 yards.
The Bengals were able to get very little running game going, ending the day with 63 yards as a team. Both the run game and help at the receiver position will be big focuses for Cincinnati going forward. Benjarvis Green-Ellis ran for 25 yards on 14 carries — a pretty disgusting total. Giovani Bernard only had four carries but totaled 22 yards.
Will Marvin Lewis turn over the reigns to Bernard sooner rather than later on? Bernard certainly seems to be the favorite to take over the starting role eventually. He showed promise throughout camp and even in the week one loss on Sunday, and getting a start might give the offense the boost they need.
The biggest question, still, is where the help will come from beyond Green. Both Jones and Sanu have to become more active and most importantly dependable. Cincinnati cannot depend solely on Green all season long. As seen on Sunday, it will only take them so far.