KANSAS CITY – A once-promising Bengals season has taken a drastic downturn, going from meltdown to massacre.
The Bengals showed a national TV audience Sunday night that they still aren’t ready for prime time with a stunning 45-10 loss to the hard-charging Kansas City Chiefs. And afterward coach Marvin Lewis called it a team effort.
"It's on everybody," Lewis said. "The coaching staff has to do a great job of preparing. The (players) have to understand and make the adjustments, the execution — we knew that was going to be a big part of it. Communication, being alert, making the adjustments and so forth throughout the football game. We did a poor job of that.
"We've got to understand that we have opportunities. We had a lot of plays where we've got to do better."
Quarterback Andy Dalton had his least productive game of the season and was ready to go on to the next one.
"It's just one game. We've got another one next week," Dalton said. "As much as this one sucks, like I said, everything's still right there. We're in a great position. We've got to go take advantage of it."
The Bengals were six-point underdogs coming off their last-minute collapse against the Steelers, but even though the Chiefs have been running up points like Mega Millions dollars, who would have expected the Bengals to lose by five touchdowns?
The Bengals were blown out by halftime, and with a 4-3 record, it's starting to take some imagination to see them making the playoffs, much less winning the AFC North. They're now tied for second with the Ravens, a loss and percentage points behind the Steelers (3-2-1).
Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes showed the Bengals and their fans that he’s everything he’s been cranked up to be. Mahomes threw for four touchdowns and running back Kareem Hunt finished with three scores as the 6-1 Chiefs rebounded from last week’s three-point loss at New England.
The Chiefs more than doubled the Bengals in total yards, 551 to 239. And if the NFL kept official stats for missed tackles and leaving receivers wide open, Cincinnati's defense would be at the top this week. You can't blame injuries for that.
Mahomes was 28 of 39 for 358 yards for his sixth straight 300-yard passing game and gained 44 yards on four scrambles. Mahomes spread the wealth, connecting with eight targets. Tyreek Hill had seven catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, and Demetrius Harris had the other scoring grab for Kansas City.
Hunt scored two touchdowns rushing and one receiving. He rushed for 86 yards on 15 carries, and gained 55 yards on five catches and left several would-be tacklers in his wake.
Two local players added to the Bengals' misery. Tight end Travis Kelce from UC had five catches for 95 yards. Running back Spencer Ware from Princeton High had eight carries for 59 yards and three catches for 30.
The Bengals got their only touchdown on Dalton’s 4-yard pass to C.J. Uzomah in the second quarter.
The Chiefs have the worst-rated defense in the NFL, but you wouldn't know that by watching Sunday night. They sacked Dalton twice and kept him under constant duress. Dalton was 15-of 29 for just 148 yards passing with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and a QB rating of 63.6.
A.J. Green got free for seven catches for 117 yards but no TD's, and Tyler Boyd was shut out until the second half. Meanwhile, the running game was non-existent. Joe Mixon got 50 yards on 13 carries, and the Bengals had a grant total of 62 yards on the ground.
Randy Bullock kicked a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Bengals' other points.
With the game out of hand, backup QB Jeff Driskel got his first NFL action in a regular-season game and completed 4 out of 4 passes for 39 yards.
Andrew Billings and Carlos Dunlap had sacks.
LB Vontaze Burfict limped off in the third quarter with a hip injury, WR John Ross went down with a groin injury and TE Mason Schreck left with a knee injury.
The Bengals host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) next Sunday.