By Matthew McAdow
I never thought I would be writing this, but the Cincinnati Bengals will be finishing last in the AFC North this season and in all honesty, I am not sure they will win more than one more game. At 5-6, this season is a wash and fans already have their sights on next season. I have been through many bad seasons from the Bengals, but this one really hurts as we are wasting away a year from our $275 million franchise quarterback who turns 27 in two short weeks. His absence from the game this week did help highlight all the flaws this offense has and just how much he covers up the horrendous offensive schemes.
Somehow, Cincinnati gave up only 16 points despite allowing 400-plus yards of offense.
Trayveon Williams continues to be impressive in kick returns and completely flipped the field advantage in Cincinnati’s favor with a 46-yard return.
8 carries? What in the world is wrong with this offense. With a backup quarterback, Cincinnati ran nearly everything out of shotgun again and handed the ball to the running back 8 times … Unwatchable.
Up 3 and in the red zone, Jake Browning threw an awful pass that was picked off and later turned into the Steelers taking the lead. Browning had a chance to lead this team to a victory and in all honesty, this pick lost the game.
2 of 10 on third downs. No other comment needed here.
Cincinnati had 15 minutes fewer than Pittsburgh in time of possession and simply couldn’t get a stop when needed.
Steelers’ tight end Pat Freiermuth had 9 receptions for 120 yards … Why does Cincy struggle so much against tight ends?
The Bengals are missing speed on offense and could use another weapon on offense that can get vertical down field.
Cincinnati has failed to ensure that it has a capable second string quarterback, failed to address its tight end issue, and has failed to have a good run game for years.
Chase Brown, Chris Evans, Trayveon Williams … Why do none of them get any snaps? If they aren’t good enough, then why did Cincy get rid of Samaje Perine? If they aren’t capable, then the team did a poor job of drafting. If they are capable, then why aren’t they getting any snaps?
I can’t watch Browning out of the shotgun for 95% of the snaps to end the season. I honestly feel bad for the situation he is in.
I watched the best pass-rusher on earth (TJ Watt) go untouched twice. How does that happen?
Let’s Talk Baseball
I never thought I would be wanting to write about baseball in November, yet here I am. With RedsFest approaching this weekend and the Bengals’ season being practically over, I am already patiently (or impatiently) awaiting March. I expect Cincinnati to have a solid year after its rookies got a year under their belts. Expectations should be high for this ballclub, but there are still some gaps in this roster. Let’s take a look at the current roster projections for the 2024 MLB season.
This team still needs to add to this rotation if it is going to be serious about contending in 2024. The Cardinals are loading up their rotation and the Reds need to follow suit. In reality, this rotation looks good enough to compete, but injuries will happen and the team needs to have good starter to lean on. While I would love to see Trevor Bauer get reunited with his former team where he won a Cy Young Award, I think there are more realistic free agents that could join this roster. Cincinnati, spend the money.
This bullpen desperately needs 2 arms added. There are many names out there and Lucas Sims is currently a free agent. AJ Minter, Tommy Kahnle, Paul Sewald, Ryan Pressly, and Tanner Scott are some familiar names that are signing with teams or currently on the market.
Current Roster Status
C – Tyler Stephenson/Luke Maile (Let’s hope Stephenson returns to form this season)
IF – Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, Noelvi Marte, Jonathan India (for now), Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Elly De La Cruz, Jose Barrero (Possibly)
OF – Will Benson, Stuart Fairchild, Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, Nick Martini, Rece Hinds, TJ Hopkins, and Jacob Hurtubise
I love the young talent that this team has on the roster, but a power bat is desperately needed. Kyle Schwarber would be a sight to see in Great American Ball Park.
betJACK Pick of the Week
Unfortunately, I think taking the Jaguars -8 against the Bengals this week is a lock. If you want to make some money to end this season, I would be looking at whoever is playing Cincinnati, as this team is feeling defeated.
This column appears in several newspapers in southwest Ohio.