A week after one of the most heartbreaking finishes you could have imagined, the Bengals laid a giant goose egg in 60 minutes of football on Sunday in Indianapolis.
After surrendering 43 and 37 points in their past two games, the task for the Bengals defense didn’t get any easier as they traveled on the road to play the no. 1 ranked offense in the NFL.
The Bengals offense was the saving grace for the team last week as they put up 37 points and over 500 yards of total offense. One week later and it is the offense that is the cause of concern after today.
The real story of the first half is that the Colts made the game closer than it had to be. The Bengals went three and out on their first eight possessions as the Colts offense shot themselves in the foot twice.
In the first quarter, it was Ahmad Bradshaw who was stripped by Carlos Dunlap at the Bengals 18 yard line and it was recovered by Adam Jones to keep the game scoreless. The Bengals defense nearly had a pick six when Leon Hall jumped in front of a goal line route but couldn’t hold on. Adam Vinatieri added a chip shot 23 yard field goal to put the Colts on the board first with a 3-0 lead.
After Kevin Huber’s fourth punt of the game on the first play of the second quarter, Andrew Luck found T.Y Hilton for 46 yards to set up a one yard touchdown plunge by Bradshaw to give the Colts a 10-0 lead.
Luck drove the Colts offense on their next drive down to the Bengals 33 yard line but it was Trent Richardson this time who couldn’t handle the exchange from Luck and coughed up the pigskin. Dunlap recovered for Cincinnati and the Bengals caught their second break of the half. The Bengals offense would respond after the fumble recovery to go -3 yards in three plays and punt the ball away once again.
Overall after two fumble recoveries, the Bengals offense managed just six yards on six plays and two punts.
The Bengals wouldn’t get their first first down of the contest until 58 seconds left in the first half when the Colts Erik Walden was flagged for touching an official and was ejected from the game. The personal foul gave the Bengals a first down but they couldn’t capitalize as Andy Dalton would be sacked on 1st and 5 from the 47 yard line and time ran out.
The second half was more of the same as Cincinnati started the third quarter with another three and out. Andrew Luck would respond with an eight play 85 yard drive and a 32 yard touchdown toss to tight end Dwayne Allen from 32 yards to extend their lead to 17-0.
Luck would put together another 85 yard drive just five minutes later as he found Bradshaw on a screen pass for a ten yard touchdown to make it a 24-0 game.
Dalton would put together the only successful Bengals drive of the game as he found Mohamed Sanu for 32 yards on third and four to put the Bengals in Colts territory for the first time in the game. However the drive would stall at the Indy four yard line when Dalton’s fourth and goal pass to Jermaine Gresham fell incomplete and the Colts took over on downs.
The Colts offense would drive for one more score before the game ended as third string running back and former Bengals Daniel Herron ran for 37 yards on the ground to set up a 50 yard field goal by Vinatieri to make the score 27-0 which would be the final.
CIN- Andy Dalton: 18-38 126 yards
IND- Andrew Luck: 27-42 344 yards 2 TD
CIN- Giovanni Bernard: 7 car 17 yards, 2 rec -1 yards
IND- Ahmad Bradshaw- 10 car 52 yards TD, 3 rec 36 yards TD
CIN- Jermaine Gresham- 10 rec 48 yards
IND- T.Y Hilton- 7 rec 107 yards
- First Downs: Colts 27 Bengals 8
- Cincinnati 135 total yards
- Kevin Huber- 11 punts
- Bengals shut out for the first time since week 17 of 2009 (L 37-0 @ JETS)
- Bengals defense allowed 506 total yards (allowing an average of 468 over the past three games)
- Vincent Rey 16 tackles
- Vontaze Burfict injured once again in the first half , did not return.
The Bengals will now try to rally as they now host three consecutive games at home. They will start by hosting the red hot Ravens who dominated the Falcons 29-7 this week to move to 5-2 on the season and move to first place in the AFC North.
It’s okay Bengals fans, the Browns lost to the winless Jaguars today 24-6 which is something we can all smile at.