CINCINNATI -- The 24-21 overtime loss Sunday in Green Bay was like a lot of things Bengal. It was tantalizingly good, but in the end crushingly disappointing.
In other words, just when you thought the season might be all right, the offense stumbled — Joe Mixon literally fell down on a crucial third-and-1 — and Aaron Rodgers was Aaron Rodgers.
There were a lot of positives in the game. Andy Dalton had his best game. The defense sacked Rodgers six times. William Jackson’s pick-6. Andre Smith’s play at tackle.
But there are no moral victories in the NFL, and the Bengals are 0-3.
Had they pulled off the upset in Green Bay, it would be easy to see how they could right the season and get back into contention. But this fact is hard to get around: Since 1980, 164 teams have started 0-3. Five have made the playoffs.
Next up: the Browns in Cleveland, then the Bills at home.. The Bengals have to win those two going into the bye week or it’s going to get ugly.
Based on what they did Sunday, the Bengals seem capable of winning the next two — although the Browns in Cleveland is no gimme anymore. The Bengals will also be playing with Vontaze Burfict, whose suspension ends.
New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor gets a passing grade. The offense did score two touchdowns after all, but the Bengals were held to a field goal in the second half.
Lazor got A.J. Green more involved and seemed to settle on Mixon as No. 1 back.
It’s troubling that the other wide receivers combined for two catches.
With all the talk of all the weapons the Bengals have on offense, said weapons have to be healthy to be used. Is Tyler Eifert a guy they can ever count on to be healthy on a regular basis? And No. 1 pick John Ross has one touch in three games, and it ended in a fumble.
BRING DOGGY BACK!
My guess is Bob Castellini has already had or will shortly have Joe Morgan give Tony Perez a call about rejoining the Reds organization in some capacity.
Perez was fired by the Marlins-owner-to-be Derek Jeter. (Not a great move by Jeter in my mind. The Marlins fan base is heavily Cuban-American and Perez is a great ambassador to the community).
Perez would be the perfect guy for the Reds to add. Eugenio Suarez, Jose Peraza, Raisel Iglesias and Luis Castillo are key to the rebuild. All could learn a lot from Perez about being a good player and teammate.
Watching Navy shred the UC defense for 569 rushing yards made me wonder why more teams don’t employ the option attack that the Midshipmen run to perfection.
It’s pretty much impossible to prepare for in a week — as UC showed in a 42-32 loss. It was amazing to see how easily Navy got to the edge of UC’s defense.
If you’re a struggling program, why not try it?
DIDI, THE POWER HITTER
Of all the astonishing things that have happened this season in regards to home runs — and there’s been a lot — Didi Gregorius hitting 25 is most astonishing thing to me.
I remember when he started getting noticed in the Reds system. “If he hits enough, he’ll play in the majors” was the line on him. He was that good defensively. They were talking about hitting .250 or so with a handful of home runs.
In his first two years in the system, Gregorius hit one home run in 372 at-bats. It’s fair to say that no one saw him setting records on home runs. but his 25th was the most ever by a Yankee shortstop.
Jonny Gomes was in the town as a member of the Boston broadcast team. He’s doing 25 games or so.
“After I got done playing, I was like a hermit,” he said. “I played so long I didn’t know what to do.”
Gomes has gotten good reviews. He’s one of most brutally honest players I’ve covered.
The tough part?
“Going three hours without cursing,” he said.
The Reds locked up Tucker Barnhart in a four-year, $15.5 million contract for one reason: Defense.
The Reds gave Barnhart No. 1 catcher money because he’s a superior defender. Fansgraphs.com rates him as best defensive catcher in baseball. He has 21 runs saved. No one else has more than nine.
So the Reds have $17.563 million invested in catching for 2018. Most of that ($13.125 million) goes to Devin Mesoraco. It says something about Barnhart that the Reds are willing to do that.