Winners and Losers From the Bengals' Loss to the Colts
The Bengals dropped to 1-4-1 this season following Sunday's 31-27 loss to the Colts. Cincinnati jumped out to an early 21-0 in the second quarter, but Philip Rivers led Indianapolis past the Bengals for their fourth victory of the season.
Here are the winners and losers from the game:
A.J. Green had his best outing of the year on Sunday. After a frustrating start to the season and questions about his future, he finished with eight receptions for 96 yards. He had multiple third down receptions that extended drives and kept the Bengals alive with 10-yard catch on fourth-and-nine with 1:48 remaining.
Tee Higgins had his best game of his young NFL career. The rookie finished with six receptions for 125 yards, including a 67-yard catch that led to a Joe Mixon touchdown. The Joe Burrow-Higgins connection continues to build chemistry. The rookie duo has a bright future.
Jessie Bates III
The safety continues to play at an elite level and be a reliable force for the Cincinnati defense. He hauled in his first interception of the season after the Colts started their first drive of the 4th quarter on the Bengals’ 43-yard line.
The Bengals jumped out to a dominant 21-0 lead. They had all of the momentum and controlled the game early in the second quarter. They needed to keep their foot on the gas and not let up.
The play-calling became conservative on both offense and defense as the Colts climbed their way back into the game. It was time for Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to show what the offense could do with a lead, which hasn't happened much since he took the reins from Marvin Lewis in Feb. 2019.
Phillip Rivers picked apart the Bengals’ defense. He finished 29-of-44 for 371 yards and three touchdowns. A unit that had played relatively well to start the season was dominated Sunday in Indianapolis. The trio of Vonn Bell, Darius Phillips, and LeShaun Sims were awful in coverage. There were mental breakdowns that allowed the Colts' receivers and tight ends to run free, especially in the final three quarters.
John Ross was active for the first time since Week 2 in place of injured Auden Tate. Being active was an opportunity to get over the hump of his early season shortcomings and prove the value of his speed to the offense. Ross was listed behind Mike Thomas and Alex Erickson on the depth chart. He wasn't targeted on offense and he wasn't a part of Taylor's game plan.
On the Fence
Burrow played better than last week in Baltimore, but had a mix of good and bad during the game. He finished 25-of-39 for 313 yards. He helped the Bengals build a 21-point lead, but he wasn't perfect.
Burrow held the ball too long. He could throw the ball away more often when he's under pressure. He also had a number of under thrown passes, including a long pass attempt to Green on the sideline that would've been in scoring range.
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