The Bengals have lost eight in a row to start the season. They lost to the Rams and now the Bengals have to try to move forward with an 0-8 record. Here are five things learned from week 8.
1. Auden Tate is not Human
There were a lot of negatives to take away from this game, so the first point will focus on the positive. Tate has been making highlight-reel catches ever since getting an opportunity earlier in the season. This game was no different, as he made one catch after being held and had to elevate to get it. That wasn’t the only big catch of the day, as he finished with five catches for 65 yards.
At 6-foot-5 and 228 pounds, Tate is freakishly athletic for his size and it is showing on these crazy catches. His ability to separate will always be questioned, as he isn’t the fastest receiver, but if he can win jump balls and catch some balls that other receivers can’t reach he will be more than fine. Tate is one player on the Bengals that is truly making the most of his opportunity.
2. The Defense has to Force Turnovers
The defense is one of the worst in the league, but even bad defenses can still force some turnovers. Cincinnati forced no turnovers against the Rams, which was one of the many reasons they lost the game. The Bengals came close, but dropped several interceptions that could have been turning points in the game. Teams that lose the turnover battle usually lose the game and the Bengals are a prime example of that.
With the offense not being able to move the ball, the biggest way the Bengals can flip the script on a game in the future is to force turnovers. Cincinnati has just two interceptions on the year, which ranks near the bottom of the league. It’s already a bad year for the defense, but the interception total is yet another area they are struggling in.
3. Halftime Adjustments Need to be Made
One of the things that great teams do is make halftime adjustments. New England certainly does that well. They take what they saw in the first half, then they make adjustments and execute. The Bengals seemingly aren’t making any good halftime adjustments this season. Against the Rams, they scored no second-half points. Even if they came close, that is no excuse.
The Bengals were scoring 8.7 second-half points heading into this game, with the average coming down after the trip to London. Zac Taylor was hired for his offensive expertise, but he needs to start showing that on the field. If he can take what the defense is doing and tweak the gameplan in his favor, the Bengals can be more effective in the second halves of games.
4. A Change at QB Should be Coming
Andy Dalton has battled this season without a good offensive line or his weapons. He has had some decent moments, but the lows are too low. In London, he threw for 329 yards and a touchdown, but missed receivers and couldn’t help the team win the game. The team needs to make a change at quarterback if they want to win.
Dalton has thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions to go with his 27th-ranked QBR. The Bengals aren’t going anywhere this season, so maybe it is time to give Ryan Finley a chance. They are on bye this week, so they can give the rookie an extra week to prepare for his first game. It would be a tough matchup against the Ravens, but the change could still pay off. If the Bengals choose not to make a change, at least A.J. Green will be coming back, which should help.
5. Multiple Trades Should be Made This Week
The NFL’s trade deadline is this Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST. Cincinnati should be very active at the deadline. The loss to the Rams drops the team to 0-8 on the season and the team is in need of a huge rebuild. A high draft pick will help, but more would likely expedite the rebuild.
Cincinnati has players that may not be on the team when the rebuild comes to a conclusion. The market should be explored for players like Dalton, Cordy Glenn, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Carlos Dunlap and more. If the Bengals can get a few more decent picks, they could have a team of rising young players next year, instead of a team of aging veterans walking along to a winless season.