CINCINNATI (WTVQ) – The Bengals took the stage on the Thursday Night primetime game on the NFL Network.
A clear theme has evolved with Bengals football. It’s definitely not about flashy high powered excitement. In fact, the Bengals will have a hard time competing in any high scoring shootout. The first two weeks of the 2017 regular season show the Bengals will best perform in an old fashion, down and dirty, defensive battle. The defense is definitely the strength of the Orange and Black. With the exceptions of a couple of trip-ups at the end of the first half of the Ravens game, both weeks have featured solid Bengals’ defensive play.
Offensively, Cincy stumbled and sputtered. To keep it balanced, the Texans had no significant motivation to advance any closer than the outskirts of the red zone either Thursday.
Through two games, the Bengals and their opponents tightened the screws on any significant offensive effort. In week one, Cincy lost by 20.
Thursday, it was quickly apparent we wouldn’t be seeing any high flying shenanigans or explosions. Any offensive advancement was found in short runs and five yard passes. Otherwise, both sides demonstrated tight defensive control. The good news, if your fantasy league is driven by punters…I have some hot tips from Paul Brown Stadium. Randy Bullock(Bengals-P) and Shane Lechler(Texans-P) will both need extra time in the whirlpool this week. Their leg work made the Rockettes envious.
With all of that in mind, it came down to the team that got an offensive or defensive break. Each team had a couple of opportunities early, but neither capitalized on these gains until Deshaun Watson broke a 49-yard TD run with 50 seconds left in the first half to put the Texans up 10-3.
The Bengals then answered with two long gains in the closing seconds of the first half; making it down to the Houston 11-yard line before time ran out.
Cincy settled for a field goal. 10-6 Houston at the break.
The Bengals came out of the half strong, systematically marching down the field; going for it on 4th and inches from the Texans’ 19-yard line. It looked as through the Bengals had it all going with a touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert, but a foot out of bounds prior to the catch resulted in a penalty, loss of down and another Bengals’ field goal.
With only minutes remaining, the Texans mounted a time-consuming drive deep into Bengals territory. They couldn’t breach the red zone and had to settle for 3 points. With two minutes remaining in the game, the Texans were up 13-9. But alas, life is about reality, and the reality is it wasn’t meant to be.
The offense, the weakness of the Bengals’ season to date, was unable to produce. Next up for the 0-2 Bengals is an away game versus the Green Bay Packers at 4:25pm on Sunday, September 24th.