The Bengals have lost nine in a row to start the season. They lost to the Rams and now the Bengals have to try to move forward with an 0-9 record. Here are five things learned from week 10.
1. Ryan Finley Will be a Backup
Cincinnati benched Andy Dalton to shake things up because the team hadn’t won a game all season. That meant Ryan Finley was inserted into the lineup against the Ravens. Finley didn’t have a terrible game, but he also didn’t play great either. He finished the game 16/30 for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The interception was returned by Marcus Peters for a touchdown.
Finley did show some mobility and some decent decision-making at times. He just doesn’t have the natural talent to be a starting NFL quarterback, which is why he fell to the fourth round. It isn’t a bad thing that he is a backup, if he can maintain that status, as most fourth-round picks are out of the league within a few years. Finley may be able to stick around.
2. Finley and Boyd have Some Chemistry
The leading receiver for the Bengals was Tyler Boyd. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as A.J. Green was out for another week and Boyd is the team’s leading receiver for the year. He finished with six catches for 62 yards and no touchdowns. No other Bengal had more than three catches.
In key situations, Finley looked Boyd’s way to convert first downs. He did so successfully a few times, which is good news for the rest of the season. If Finley can keep that chemistry with Boyd, it could make the offense a lot better once A.J. Green can finally return.
3. It is Not Impossible to Run the Ball
In a game where it should’ve been tough to run the ball due to a defense stacking the box against a rookie quarterback, the Bengals were actually able to have some success. Joe Mixon had 30 attempts for 114 yards. That’s not a great yards per carry average, but it is still better than a lot of games he has had this year. The Bengals finished with 157 rushing yards as a team.
This is a good start for a team that needs to figure out how to successfully run the ball for next season. They have ranked last in the league in rushing yards all season long. With more improvement in this area by the end of the season, it will give the team confidence for next year when they have a more realistic shot at competing.
4. Zac Taylor Needs to Get Better
The Bengals got blown out in this game and head coach Zac Taylor needs to do a better job of managing the team. One example of this was on a fourth down and two in the third quarter, the offense came off the field, then went back on when the decision to go for it was changed. The Bengals had to burn a timeout because taking the offense off the field and putting them back on the field, with a quarterback making his first start, took too long.
There are plenty other examples of how Taylor can manage the game better, but these need to be minimized moving forward. Not only are these small situations costing the team, it seems that no second-half adjustments are being made, or if they are, they aren’t being executed well. Taylor can get some benefits of the doubt because of his inexperience as a head coach and the lack of talent on the roster, but that is starting to wear out.
5. Lamar Jackson Will Destroy the Bengals for Years to Come
Lamar Jackson now has two great games against the Bengals this season. In this game, he had highlight throws and a big run that made the Bengals look inept. That isn’t anything new this season for the Bengals, but this was the worst loss of the season so far.
The Ravens lead the division with a 7-2 record and look like they are well on their way to the playoffs. Jackson is an MVP candidate that everyone has had trouble slowing down this season. He is a young star and seems like he will be a Bengal-killer for years to come, especially given how much work needs to be done on the defensive side of the ball for Cincinnati.