CINCINNATI — You really didn’t expect to win them all, did you?
Well, the guy standing outside Gate 1 when I left early Tuesday morning did.
“How can we lose to the Texans? It ain’t like it was Tom Brady.”
Brian Hoyer or T.J. Yates, who led the Texans over the Bengals 10-6, will never be confused with Brady. But over the course of a 16-game season, fans are going to see games like the Bengals had Monday night.
I mentioned the obvious last night: Tyler Eifert dropped passes. Andy Dalton missed open receivers. A.J. Green disappeared for most of three quarters.
But the offensive line had a part in it, too. Because of spotty blocking, the Bengals could not run the ball effectively and Dalton was chased consistently. As a result, the Bengals did not have a play over 20 yards until the last-gasp drive.
“Well, I think we’ve been on the other side of making some plays down the stretch and today we didn’t,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “For the defense to go out there maybe three, four series with the ball at the 40-plus yard line and be able to force punts, that’s playing NFL football. And then, the offense backed up.
"We’ll go back to work, making plays and catches like we have (been) and continue to get better at it. A.J. won’t fumble the ball and Tyler Eifert won’t drop balls.”
Players lined up to take the blame for the loss, especially Eifert and Adam Jones, who gave up the only touchdown of the game.
“Gotta move on” was the theme in the locker room afterward.
“This is where we will see the character of this team,” Dalton said. “The guys we have here understand this wasn’t our best game. We didn’t put our best out there. We’ll move forward, and we are going to be just fine.”
Hopefully that's the case.
On Sunday night, Dalton and the Bengals will face one of their toughest tests so far: They go to Arizona to play former Bengals QB Carson Palmer and the Cardinals. The Cardinals are 7-2 and coming off a win in Seattle.