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Matt’s Take: Bengals fall to 0-2; Reds in a tight playoff race

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Matthew McAdow

By Matthew McAdow

The Cincinnati Bengals lost their second game of the season on Sunday and now find themselves in an early hole.  

The Baltimore Ravens squeezed out a three-point victory. The Bengals did look better than they did week one, but I am beginning to get worried. With another tough matchup approaching next week on prime-time television, the Bengals better turn it around fast if they want to be playing for a Super Bowl trophy come February.


• Cincinnati was at least able to put up some points this week, including two Tee Higgins touchdowns.

• Charlie Jones showed off impressive speed in his punt return for 81 yards.

• The offensive line gave Burrow time throughout the day and looked way better than they did against Cleveland. 

• There is a lot of football left and Cincinnati has been in this position before.


• Joe Burrow re-injured his leg yet again. If the Bengals would have sat him the first two weeks to heal, they may have been 0-2, but he could be healthy right now. Unfortunately, they now find themselves at 0-2 with an injured quarterback.

• The defense gave up over 400 yards. They struggled to make tackles and gave up a whopping average of 6.2 yards per carry to Gus Edwards.

• Burrow doesn’t look like himself. His play has even frustrated Ja’Marr Chase as you saw him throw up his hands in frustration numerous times on Sunday. It seems like this team has failed to get anything going down field. 
• 46 percent of the drives have ended in three-and-outs. Yes, you read that correctly.  Nearly half the time the Bengals are running three plays and going to Brad Robbins to kick a below-average punt.

• If Burrow can’t go for a few weeks, I am afraid they are in even more danger. I want him to be healthy, but I also don’t want to watch Browning try to lead the team to a victory in must-win games.

• Pressure is beginning to become a major issue for the defense. Cincinnati went an entire game on Sunday without recording a sack.  

• Lamar Jackson is now 7-1 against Cincinnati.

• Cincinnati continues to be predictable on offense. There is absolutely nothing throwing off the defense and the offense just doesn’t feel like the threat that they were over the past two seasons.

* * *


With just 11 games left on the schedule, the Cincinnati Reds find themselves just a half game back in the wildcard race. Can you imagine that you would be saying that last year?  

If Cincinnati can go 7-4 over these last 11 games, I am confident that fans will get to see this young and fun team gain some experience with playoff baseball. The Twins, Pirates, Guardians and Cardinals are the remaining opponents for Cincinnati, which leaves us with an easier schedule than most.  

While we are all scoreboard watching the Cubs, Giants, Marlins and Diamondbacks, Cincinnati just needs to keep winning each series. There is almost no room for error in this race and the recent poor play from the Cubs over the last 10 games has made this even more interesting.  

* * *

Random comments, stats

• The bullpen for Cincinnati has been unreal. They have been tasked with so many innings and they are the major reason why this team is still battling in September.  

• Nick Senzel is batting .343 against left handed pitchers. That is fifth-best in MLB.

• David Bell isn’t treating anyone special now and is willing to sit Elly against left handed pitching when necessary.  

• Graham Ashcraft being out for the season really hurts our chances. Cincinnati was already struggling without Lodolo, but this injury might just be the injury that keeps Cincinnati from competing in a few weeks.

• Once Matt McLain rejoins this team, it will be interesting to see the placement of Marte, Elly, India, and himself, as it will be the first time they are all together.  

With the recent poor play from the Bengals, a Reds playoff run would be just the recipe to lift the spirits of the Queen City. I have said for months now that Cincinnati will be playing playoff baseball and by the time I write my next column, I expect to be writing about just that. Go Reds!

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