Bengals collapse under weight of 21-0 lead, lose 31-27 to Colts

Colts 31 Bengals 27

An absolutely brutal afternoon. The Bengals led 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter. They lost,

The comeback tied for Indy's 2nd-largest comeback win in franchise history.

The Bengals are 1-4-1 and have won three times in 22 tries overall under Zac Taylor, including 0-11-1 on the road and 1-11-1 in one score games.

I'm tired of hearing Taylor talk about how things are 'trending in the right direction', 'learning how to win' and how there is 'no panic' and they are 'trusting the process'. They have three wins in 22 games. You know what they are learning? To lose. Lose on the road, lose close games, losing, period. You wonder, not what what Zac has left to sell his players, but why they would listen.

The Bengals engineered a dynamic 1st quarter with an early onslaught of everything going right. Then just about everything went wrong. At one point early in the second quarter they'd outgained the Colts 201-36. They were then outgained 394-197 and outscored 31-6 the rest of the way.

The Bengals scored three points in the 2nd half after scoring on their first four possessions to start the game. The Colts scrambled back and eventually took the lead at 28-27 on the first play of the 4th quarter.

Joe Burrow's attempt at a game-winning drive ended with a pick at the Colts 19-yard with :39 remaining. The drive started at his own 26 with 4:03 left and took the Bengals to the Colts 35. Burrow finished 25 of 39 for 313 yards, 1 sack 2 INT, 78.3 rating.

Newest Bengals addition DL Xavier Williams recovered a Colts fumble on the game's opening drive and it was on...The Bengals turned the turnover into an opening drive TD capped by a Gio Bernard rushing TD. It was a red zone TD, the first rushing TD of the year for the Bengals and the first opening drive TD allowed by the Colts in 18 games. Burrow kept for a 2-yard TD on their second drive. Then Mixon rode the wave of the OL into the endzone for a 7-yard TD and it was three possessions, three TD's and a 21-0 lead.

The offense involved a lot of different guys early, including plays by AJ and Gio and racked up 398 yards.

Green flashed the AJ of old form. He had a big impact day: 8 catches for 96 yards on 11 targets. Seven catches went for a first down, including a sweet hands and feet catch along the sideline and a huuuuuuuge 4th and 8 acrobatic stretch and catch on the final drive.

Tee Higgins had 6 catches for 125 yards (1st career 100 yard game) on 8 targets, including a season high 67-yard catch and run on a beauty by Burrow.

Joe Ross was active.....and played one snap.

The Bengals started on the ground, gaining 17 yards rushing on their first three plays. Joe Mixon injured his foot in the first half and left the game. He returned in the 3rd quarter but didn't have much impact after that. Total: 18-54 (3.0), TD. Just 15 carries for 37 yards to finish the game. His longest run was 9 yards. The Bengals had three rushing TD's on 32 total carries for 98 yards.

The Bengals marched 13 plays, 62 yards for a FG to extend the lead to 27-21 in the 3rd quarter. The drive started on their own half yard line.

Taylor was creative with play calling early...using slants, jet sweeps a flea flicker and quick passing plays. He faces questions for a 3rd and 1 pass call early in the 3rd quarter that was incomplete. Then handed the ball to fullback Samaje Perine on 3rd and 1 in the 4th quarter that got blown up.....leading to a Randy Bullock missed 48-yarder that would have given the Bengals the lead. Got a feeling that years from now when we discuss the Taylor era we will reference this quote: "Just a fullback dive. I felt like he was best suited for that job."

The defense that made plays and repeatedly got stops in the 1st quarter, eventually unraveled at the carving of Phillips Rivers. He threw for 235 yards in a 21 point 2nd quarter.....ALONE. And yes, the defense allowed TD in the final two minutes of the half, this one with :15 remaining to pull the Colts within 24-21 at the half.

The Colts totaled 430 yards of offense, converting 7 of 11 3rd downs, including a 3rd and 8 blown coverage where they lost track of......TY Hilton.......and a 3rd and 9 that led to a FG to extend the Colts lead to 31-27 late. Rivers torched the Bengals for 371 yards and 3 TDs with a QB rating of 105.4. Despite, playing with a 21-0 lead, the pressure on Rivers was nonexistent. He was sacked once (X. Williams) on 44 pass attempts. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins were nowhere to be found. They combined for one tackle and no pressures on 47 snaps. Von Bell had a brutal day in coverage. Darius Phillips certainly didn't back up his tweets this week with his play. Colts TE Jack Doyle scored the go-ahead touchdown when he beat Logan Wilson.

D snaps from Sunday: 18 Atkins (29%), 28 Dunlap (44%), 34 X. Williams (54%), 34 Covington (54%), 29 Bledsoe (45%).

Atkins has played 37 snaps in two weeks since his return: 0 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 pressures. His name has not shown up on the final stat sheet.

After WJ3 helped on consecutive 3rd down stops to open the game the Colts converted 7 of their last 9 3rd downs.....including 3rd & 10 for 22, 3rd & 7 for 20, 3rd & 10 for 17 (TD), 3rd & 8 for 11, 3rd & 9 for 20.

Jessie Bates had a spectacular leaping INT in the 3rd quarter.

Randy Bullock booted a 47-yard FG and then a 55-yarder in the 3rd quarter. He missed a 48-yarder trailing 28-27 with 8:00 remaining in the game. He'd made 12 consecutive kicks.

The Bengals last won on the road in September 30, 2018 in Atlanta.

Zac Taylor is currently two wins behind David Shula's pace through 22 games

Zac: 3-18-1

David: 5-17

The Bengals entered Sunday 48-3-2 (.925) when scoring at least 25 points since 2011. They are now 2-3 under Zac.

Darius Phillips took to Twitter last week and questioned how he's being used. Shawn Williams chimed in. Dunlap went public with his frustrations over his demotion. AJ had a moment where he 'lost it' last week. Auden Tate's agent has complained publicly about his client's playing time. Cordy Glenn was suspended for a confrontation with a coach. Atkins and Dunlap played fewer snaps than Covington and Bledsoe Sunday. Add it all up: What's up?

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