In the words of Kanye West, “You should be honored by lateness.”
But seriously, apologies on the tardiness of the Week 4 Power Rankings. I was actually traveling back from the great city of Memphis on Sunday morning/afternoon/evening (that is one long-ass drive), so I didn’t get to see the game live (which ended up being a good thing). I did have my sources feeding me updates throughout the contest (Thanks, dad and the ESPN ScoreCenter app), and I DVR’d the game. But after getting home at about 8 pm (and having to watch Breaking Bad), I didn’t get a chance to run back the actual game until Monday evening. Since then, I’ve been trying to count up the number of Andy Dalton’s egregiously incomplete passes.
For the most part, the Bengals Power Rankings have been a reflection of positive performances, though this doesn’t always have to be the case. The Power Rankings are a reflection of who (or what) had the most note-worthy and impactful performance on the team and the game, good or bad. And in a week where you lose 17-6 to the Cleveland Browns, there was a lot of bad.
1. Andy DaltonLike I said: bad. He completed 23 of 42 for 206 yards (4.91 yards-per-attempt) and a 58.2 passer rating. Barf. He looked out of sync with receivers and uncomfortable all day. He had a lost fumble (again) and an interception. He was bloody awful, and it looked worse than even the terrible stats suggest. I don’t think it’s entirely his fault (Jay Gruden and the receivers deserve some blame, I’m sure), but when you’re the quarterback, both the glory and despair falls largely on your shoulders. Dalton needs to trend back towards glory. However, an interesting stat:-Andy Dalton, for the season: 94-148 (63.5%, 6.78 ypa); 1,003 yards; 5 TDs, 4 INTs; 83.2 QB rating.-Tom Brady, for the season: 93-158 (58.9%, 6.42 ypa); 1,014 yards; 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 87.4 QB rating.Let’s give Dalton a little more time to prove what he can do this season.
2. IdentityMore than Dalton’s crapfest of a game against the Browns, this is what I found most disconcerting about the Bengals offensive performance. From ESPN's NFL Nation:What is your identity on offense? Do you feel like you have one? Without pause, Jay Gruden, the team's offensive coordinator, went straight into a reply. He hears you, Bengals fans. And he agrees with a lot of what many of you are saying. "That's probably our biggest fault right now is that we're still trying to get one," Gruden said. … "We're working towards that."Uh…still trying to get one? Working towards that? What the hell have they been doing all offseason, training camp, preseason, and first four weeks? It’s one thing if your team/players suck and can’t execute your gameplan and identity. It’s another thing if your team doesn’t even know what it’s gameplan and identity is yet.
3. Geno AtkinsFinally, some good. After a slow start to the season (by Geno’s standards), he recorded three tackles, 1.5 sacks, two hits, and two hurries for a Pro Football Focus grade of +5.5. And in general, he looked much more like his regular quick, explosive, powerful self. A good sign for the Bengals, the fans, and this blog.
4. PuntingMore good!...sort of. Kevin Huber was punting like a boss on Sunday, dropping all four of his kicks inside the 20 yard line and allowing only seven total punt return yards. But yeah, it’s punting.
5. Kyle CookThe bad snap that led to a fourth-quarter 15-yard loss was a killer, and only added to a rough day in terms of run blocking (-1.7 by PFF for a -1.2 day overall). The botched snap came on a 1st-and-10 play at the Cleveland 41 yard line following a big 24-yard completion to Jermaine Gresham with the Bengals trailing 10-6. Following the big loss (after the snap was recovered by Gio Bernard) the Bengals punted three plays later on 4th-and-21, followed by a 91-yard touchdown drive by the Browns. If there is such thing as momentum in football, Kyle Cook chopped off its head with an axe.
Honorable Mention: AJ Green’s body language, single coverage on Jordan Cameron, Brandon Tate returning kicks, Chris Crocker returns to continue his role as the real-life Michael Myers.
Texts my dad says: A collection of the text updates I received from my father on the drive back from Memphis, for your enjoyment.-“12-play, 95-yard drive. Browns lead 7-0”-“Ghee & Mays give up big pass plays”-“Bengals go 4th & 1 from the 6. BJGE not even close. Browns ball.”-“Browns 3 & out”-“No luck. Dalton overthrow. 3 & out”-“Browns miss FG. End of half, 7-3. Pretty lackluster effort”-“Crocker sighting. Browns punt”-“Browns D is good. Dalton is not”-“Harrison just made TFL. Woo hoo”-“Tate 8 yards deep (on kickoff). Tackled at 10”-“Nugent 43-yd FG. 10-6. Pathetic”-“Geno sack. Browns punt & I just changed my shirt”-“Browns TD. 17-6 with 5:00 to go. Unbelievable”-“Dalton intercepted”-“Dalton stinks”fin.
Speaking of dads: A great, touching piece by Bengals.com editor Geoff Hobson on his late father.
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