The Bengals have lost six in a row to start the season. They lost to the Ravens and now the Bengals have to try to move forward with an 0-6 record. Here are five things learned from week 6.
1. The Plan to Stop Lamar Jackson Needs Work
Lamar Jackson keeps on shattering records. This game was no different as he passed for 236 yards and rushed for 152 more. He had just one total touchdown, but that was all he needed to do to get the job done. A key for this game, and to the future of the battles in this division, was to figure out how to stop Lamar Jackson. That still needs some work.
The Bengals have nothing to lose the rest of the season, so the next time they play the Ravens, they need to test some things out. Containing the quarterback and keeping Jackson in the pocket has to be the priority. If they can’t do that, then drafting players who can help stop Jackson in the future will be necessary this offseason.
2. The Defense Needs an Overhaul
The last point was more about the scheme of stopping Jackson, but the defense needs to be revamped totally. The Bengals allowed over 6.3 yards per rush, showing no fight upfront. While the Ravens only scored 23 points, that had a lot to do with game flow more than anything else.
Upfront, the Bengals have talent, but they were unable to pressure Jackson consistently. Carl Lawson had the only sack of the game. Coverage was blown and the run couldn’t be stopped. While the quarterback position will likely be a priority in the 2020 NFL Draft, the defense also needs a talent overhaul.
3. The Run Game Was Abandoned
Every Cincinnati fan knows that the running game has not been a strength of this team. Whether more of the blame lies in the offensive line or Joe Mixon has been debated, but either way it has been awful. It was no different against the Ravens. The team rushed 14 times for 33 yards.
Alex Erickson led the team in rushing with 17 yards. Mixon rushed for 10 yards on eight carries. The Bengals only allowed the 23 points, but abandoned the running game despite that. Teams can now key on stopping the run early and then know that the Bengals will give up on it. This isn’t necessarily the wrong call given the circumstances, but for the future, the problem needs to be fixed.
4. More Offensive Weapons are Needed
It was a tough task asking the Bengals to go into Baltimore and compete with so many players injured. A.J. Green and John Ross were out for this game, which made things harder. The Ravens were able to shut down Tyler Boyd, as he finished the game with only three catches for 10 yards.
Auden Tate led the team in receiving yards with 91 on five catches. They were more than happy to let Tate get catches while they shut down Boyd. If the other offensive weapons are healthy, the Ravens wouldn’t be able to key on one guy and the offense would be more effective. Luckily, Brandon Wilson was able to return a kickoff for a touchdown to make it appear as if the offense played a little better. Staying healthy is a tall task for this team though.
5. Some of This is on Zac Taylor
It is easy to blame head coaches, but Zac Taylor has gotten more than the benefit of the doubt for his start with the Bengals. Expectations weren’t high entering the season given the talent on the roster. There were also plenty of injuries for the team to deal with. Now, this shouldn’t all fall on Taylor, but he needs to start getting more of the blame.
The Bengals have had a few games that they could’ve won, but they came up short. Taylor needs to get the offense back on track, as he calls the plays, because the defense is incapable of playing great. He shouldn’t be fired or on the hot seat, but he needs to make changes to start to help the team grow.