The Cincinnati Bengals were 6-2 heading into week nine of the 2013 NFL season as they went to face off with the Miami Dolphins, with Cincinnati holding a commanding lead in the AFC North. However, the Bengals suffered an overtime loss to Miami and saw their lead in the division dwindle, though only slightly.
After week 10, though, the Bengals’ lead in the division has dwindled to a more concerning two games. Up against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday, the Bengals suffered their fourth loss of the season, this one coming after Cincy forced overtime on a hail-mary attempt to end regulation, but ultimately falling short in overtime again.
Quarterback Andy Dalton proved to be part of the equation in the Bengals’ comeback against the Ravens, throwing a touchdown pass to Giovani Bernard and, of course, the desperation heave that probably had more to do with A.J. Green being a monster than anything to do with Dalton. However, the Bengals may not have been in that situation had it not been for Dalton’s poor play, including three picks.
Though one of Dalton’s three interceptions came as he was trying to make that comeback, he still wasn’t great at all during this game. In the first three quarters of action, he managed only three drives of more than 30 yards and never got into the red-zone. That’s obviously not a great showing from a team’s man under center.
If the Bengals want to get back on track, they need to start relying more heavily on their rushing attack. Against Baltimore, Cincinnati ran the ball 31 times opposed to the 56 times that they dropped back to pass. Obviously a lot of that is playing from behind, but their running game comprised of Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been a solid duo out of the backfield. If the Bengals plan on putting away the division, they’re going to need to rely less on Dalton to make plays going forward.