The Cincinnati Bengals were perfect at home during the 2013 regular season, securing the AFC North Division title and the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoffs. But in their Wild Card matchup with the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati looked wildly uncomfortable in The Jungle, making mistake after mistake to go one-and-done in the 2014 NFL Playoffs.
Much of the attention will be paid to the struggles of quarterback Andy Dalton, and with good reason. The Cincinnati signal caller was inaccurate for most of the day, missing on throws down the field and forcing throws into tight coverage that resulted in two interceptions. He also fumbled the ball away in the second half diving for a first down when he hit the ground untouched and coughed it up.
But Dalton is far from the only culprit when it comes to game-killing mistakes for the Bengals. Giovanni Bernard killed a scoring opportunity late in the first half when he was stripped of the ball inside the 10-yard line which really deflated the momentum of the Bengals’ offense going forward. Even superstar A.J. Green struggled on the day, dropping a deep pass down the sideline that could have put Cincinnati right back into the game in the fourth quarter. It was a collective effort to bungle this game away, getting outscored 20-0 in the second half and turning the ball over three times.
The disappointing finish to the season will leave plenty of uncomfortable questions for the Cincinnati Bengals to answer this offseason. There’s no questioning the talent on this roster but at the end of the day, they made far too many mistakes to compete in a playoff game resulting in a lopsided loss at home. Can they fix their issues this offseason?