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Thread: Week 10 Post Game Notes: Steelers

  1. #31
    Win now or this staff will test ownership’s patience: This Week in Bengals

    By Paul Dehner Jr. 1h ago

    CINCINNATI — The gantlet of a five-game stretch for the Bengals now officially becomes progressively smaller in the rearview mirror.

    The Bengals went 1-4 against five teams all in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, each boasting a record of at least 6-3.

    The Ravens, Colts, Browns, Titans and Steelers are a combined 33-12.

    The team will reflect on the back-to-back, odds-defying blown leads against the Colts and Browns and wonder how different this season would feel if
    one or both of those went the Bengals’ way. They didn’t. They only amplified that this team, under Zac Taylor, has yet to pull out a truly close game at
    the end. The Bengals have won in games they dominated. They lost all the rest.

    If the last five were the gantlet, consider the next four a comparative cakewalk as the Bengals tiptoe through the tulips of the NFC East, plus a trip to
    overachieving Miami.

    Those teams’ combined record is 13-24. The Bengals are a one-point underdog or even money this weekend at Washington depending on where you
    wager and are likely to be favored at home against both the Giants and Andy Dalton’s Cowboys.

    Win now, show proof of concept, or else the conversations are guaranteed to be quite uncomfortable for this coaching staff when the season ends.

    “It’s important,” Taylor said. “We need to win football games. I don’t worry too much about what’s going on after Washington. I’ve seen the schedule, I
    saw it at the beginning of the season, but our focus is 100 percent on Washington, winning a road game. We’ll focus on the other stuff, but this week we
    have to focus on beating Washington.”

    Inevitably, I think there’s enough buy-in from ownership that the trough of patience and loyalty will be enough to buy the head coach and much of his
    staff one more player cycle to make good on promises. The development and backing from Joe Burrow alone basically justify it. But not if this stretch
    of four games elicits another round of heartbreak and brutal losses. An ugly stretch here would put ownership in a tough spot after the season.

    There’s no running from the record at some point. Even in Cincinnati.

    These are winnable games. They are games outside of the AFC North, where the Bengals are 2-2-1 this season. Cincinnati also owned a fourth-quarter
    lead in all five.

    If Taylor’s Bengals are truly on the right track and capable of pulling this franchise out of the rebuild and into relevance, this is the stretch to convince
    everyone on the field.

    Not with culture or words or signings or even Burrow. But with wins.

    Make good on the next four weeks in some capacity and everyone can start talking about taking the considerable next step possible in 2021 and the
    chance to snag a signature division win late in December. Falter, and the conversation about the future could sound dramatically different.

    On tap

    The Bengals and Washington Football Team are in intensive COVID-19 protocol. The Bengals are still in it from last week’s positive tests, and WFT
    had a positive test surface Tuesday morning. This is the second straight week the Bengals and their opponent are doing everything virtually except for
    practice. Other than that, we’ll be tracking the possible return of Joe Mixon (foot) and Jonah Williams (stinger), who both were close but not deemed
    ready to play in Pittsburgh.

    This Week in Burrow

    Once more on this topic and I’ll let it go. I wanted to take one more look at the Bud Dupree “boost,” as Burrow called it, from Sunday’s game against
    Pittsburgh. This isn’t because I believe it to be a dirty play or even necessarily painful for Burrow.

    Instead, it’s the latest in a trend this year where the Bengals can’t seem to get their quarterback protected by the officials.

    Take a closer look from the All-22
    at two snapshots from this play. The first where the ball is well out of Burrow’s hand on the way to Drew Sample,
    with Dupree not even touching the No. 1 overall pick 5 yards into the playing field. The second is a shot of Dupree still with his hand on Burrow 5 yards
    into the sideline before Burrow barreled into the bench, rolling his ankle in the process.

    The sole responsibility of one of the three officials behind this play is to watch only for potential roughing or late hits on the quarterback. How riding a
    guy 10 yards when the ball was well out before he was even touched, then watching the quarterback bang into the bench isn’t a flag is beyond me.

    And it’s fine if they missed this one. Officials do. The frustration for the Bengals is this has been happening all year.

    There have been 77 flags for roughing the passer thrown in the NFL this year. Burrow received one. He’s been hit out of bounds, hit late, hit in the head
    and now boosted to the bench.

    I asked Taylor about it Monday. The conversation went like this:

    We’ve talked a few times about some of the late hits on Joe that have happened and not been called. When you got another view of the one yesterday
    where he got kind of a little, I guess he called it a boost into the bench. What was your opinion on that and does this fall in that category of you kind of
    wish that some of those calls would start to come your way?

    “Probably falls into that category, and I’ll be very careful with my opinions.”

    When you see your quarterback kind of get thrown against a bench, though, what is your reaction? Is that a frustrating thing in general?

    “I mean, if there was a camera on me for the next eight minutes, you would have seen my reaction going into halftime, so that would have been very
    clear had someone been filming that.”

    This league is supposedly focused on protecting the quarterbacks. That’s the foundation of the conversation.

    It’s not about this play. It’s not about anybody being dirty. It’s not even about Dupree and the Steelers (as much as both fan bases want to engage
    through that lens). It’s about the Bengals rightfully wondering what they have to do to keep teams from taking shots at the face of their franchise after
    the whistle.


    Tyler Boyd when asked about A.J. Green not having a catch with five targets — the second time in five games he’s been held without a reception:

    “It’s A.J. Green. He’s still the GOAT in my eyes. It’s just tough, just to be in the position that he’s in. But for the game, we were all kind of in that
    position. Without a rhythm, you can’t really get anybody involved. The guys can’t really click how they want to click. We just got to find a way to start
    fast. If we start fast, the ball would have gotten in everybody’s hands.”

    I mostly mention this because it seems any time we bring up Green to players, you will either hear the word GOAT or A.J. Dream. For good reason,
    Green wears the captain on his chest and has reverence and respect unlike any other player in that locker room.

    That’s what makes his situation so challenging. The idea of trying somebody else in his spot, even for a few series a game just to gauge production,
    comes with an extra challenge of reading the room.

    A.J. Green is third on the Bengals this season in receptions (31) and yards (316). (Aaron Doster / USA Today)

    You don’t mess with that guy. The ideal scenario is every week looks more like his games against Indianapolis (eight catches for 96 yards) and
    Cleveland (seven catches for 82 yards). Nobody wants to reduce Green’s role or send the message of treating arguably the most talented player in
    franchise history with a lack of respect in what looks to be his final year with the club.

    “We have a really deep receiving corps, and so it’s a benefit for the quarterback where he doesn’t have to be dialed in to just trying to get a ball to
    somebody,” Taylor said. “He can just throw to the open man, and you know, so again, it’s just part of the way it goes. I’ve kind of predicted this could
    happen for a couple guys as the season goes where a guy has eight catches one game and has zero the next game, and so again, we’re careful not to
    overreact to that.”

    Maybe so, but the trust and chemistry Burrow enjoys with Tee Higgins and Boyd just aren’t there with Green even a little. How long until you give
    Mike Thomas or Auden Tate a chance to prove it can be there with them? If looking for an answer, I’ll merely direct you to the opening section of this
    post. These coaches’ jobs might be on the line. The leash for feelings, history and reverence should be out the window sooner rather than later.

    Twitter question of the week

    I always enjoy the passion and frustration of my guy Brian Snow, who does great work in the college basketball world. He’s also got a great point here.
    It’s tough to decipher what the greatest need is on this team anymore, and that’s not great considering the problems up front.

    It prompted this question on HTPG this week: If the Bengals were picking in the back of the top 10 — they are currently projected at No. 7 — what
    position group would you lean toward with the top pick? Or let’s say former Joe Burrow buddy and LSU star receiver Ja’Marr Chase was available?
    What do you do?

    So much would depend on what the Bengals do in free agency and whom they are able to bring back. That’s without diving too deep into the specific
    names that will be available in that spot, as Jay Morrison did with Dane Brugler last week.

    Chase would be the shiny object and a scary piece to put in next to Higgins, Boyd and Joe Mixon and reunite with Burrow. Scary.

    But you can’t ignore the trenches anymore. The Bengals need to allocate assets to fixing the interior or none of this means anything. Right now, I’d put
    the need for an elite pass rusher at the top of my list for this club in some capacity because I don’t see many real options on the table there. At least on
    the offensive line, you can point to the development of Hakeem Adeniji, a potential piece in Quinton Spain and the serviceability of Bobby Hart.

    Again, all of it is quite concerning.

    Degenerate corner

    We should really rename this “Update on Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds Corner.” I won’t, because, frankly, that’s not very catchy. However, here is
    the update (odds courtesy of

    • Justin Herbert: 5-4

    • Joe Burrow: 7-4

    • Tua Tagovailoa: 5-2

    While we are at it, the Bengals opened around a pick ’em or small favorite against Washington, but nearly every book in Vegas has moved to WFT as a
    1 1/2-point favorite. The over-under is set at 46.

    As you may be aware, the Bengals have yet to win on the road under Taylor.

    Kudos to RJ Bell for digging up this stat about that wild ride of road failures. There has been a silver (or green) lining for Bengals bettors.

  2. #32

    I think I was lazy with my eyes, lazy with my footwork and it's what you have to do when it's windy like it was on Sunday - Joe Burrow

    "My decsion making wasn't as sharp. Things weren't clicking as fast as it normally does. I wasn't as crisp as I normally am" - Joe Burrow on why he called it lazy with his eyes.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Bengals1181 View Post

    I think I was lazy with my eyes, lazy with my footwork and it's what you have to do when it's windy like it was on Sunday - Joe Burrow

    "My decsion making wasn't as sharp. Things weren't clicking as fast as it normally does. I wasn't as crisp as I normally am" - Joe Burrow on why he called it lazy with his eyes.
    Bench him. That will teach him!

  4. Dear Joe Burrow,

    When you win, say little. When you lose, say nothing.

    Love and STFU,

    Paul Brown

    P.S. Greg Cook was better.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by High School Harry View Post
    Dear Joe Burrow,

    When you win, say little. When you lose, say nothing.

    Love and STFU,

    Paul Brown

    P.S. Greg Cook was better.
    I think it was actually when you lose say nothing, when you win say less.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    I think it was actually when you lose say nothing, when you win say less.

    I'm starting to think Paul Brown didn't actually write about Joe Burrow.


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