breaking news

Huber Heights man found dead in Springfield park: What we know now

6 things to know about Bengals loss to Vikings

Sunday was one of the most forgettable days in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise history, beginning with a report that head coach Marvin Lewis would be walking away from the team at the end of the year and culminating with one of the worst losses of Lewis’ career.

Minnesota raced out to an early 17-point lead that eventually swelled to 34 before the Bengals got a late touchdown for the final points in a 34-7 loss.

Since taking a 17-0 lead against Pittsburgh two weeks ago, the Bengals have been outscored 80-17 while dropping three consecutive games.

Sunday’s setback dropped the team to 5-9 and officially eliminated them from the playoffs. Here are six things to know about the game:

Back-to-back blowouts

Sunday’s 27-point loss came on the heels of a 33-7 rout by Chicago last week, marking just the fourth time in Bengals history they have lost consecutive games by at least 26 points.

“We’re just not playing well,” said wide receiver A.J. Green, who finished with two catches for 30 yards. “We all have jobs to do, we all get paid. We’re not doing our job right now.”

›› PHOTO GALLERY: Marvin Lewis through the years

The last time the Bengals dropped consecutive games by at least 26 points was 2008, with a 34-3 loss to Baltimore in Week 13 and a a 35-3 defeat at Indianapolis in Week 14.

Earlier that season, the Bengals fell 38-10 to Pittsburgh and 35-6 at Houston in Weeks 7-8.

The only other time it happened in franchise history was 2002, 30-3 at Atlanta and 35-7 vs. Tampa Bay in Weeks 3-4.

QB cameo

Backup quarterback AJ McCarron enter the game with 9:18 remaining and led the Bengals to their only points with a six-play, 23-yard drive set up by safety Shawn Williams’ interception against Minnesota backup Teddy Bridgewater.

With the Bengals officially eliminated for the playoffs and the offense in a funk, Lewis was asked if he would consider playing McCarron in the final two games.

“No,” he replied without expanding.

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

McCarron, whom the Bengals attempted to trade to Cleveland for a second- and third-round pick on Oct. 31 before the deal fell apart due to a procedural error by the Browns, was 3 of 6 for 19 yards.

He is in the final year of his contract, and whether he will be a restricted or unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in March is something that will be decided by an arbitrator after the season.

Flawed first

Minnesota drove 75 yards for a touchdown on its first possession of the game on the way to building a 17-0 lead less than 13 minutes into the game.

It was just the sixth time in franchise history the Bengals gave up that many points in the first quarter, and just the second in the Lewis era (trailed 21-0 after one quarter in a 30-20 loss at Pittsburgh on Dec. 15, 2013).

The Bengals had just 26 yards of offense in the opening quarter and no first downs. It was the third consecutive game in which they failed to record a first down in an entire quarter.

›› Bengals wide receiver a surprise healthy scratch vs. Vikings

The Vikings had three plays of least 20 yards in the opening quarter, while Cincinnati had one for the entire game.

“They obviously played a lot better than we did today,” Dalton said. “I think that they are not just doing it on one side of the ball, they are doing it at all three phases, and they are a good team.”

Triple terrible?

The Bengals entered the weekend as the No. 32-ranked offense in the league, averaging 277.2 yards per game. They cemented the last-place standing by gaining just 161 yards against the Vikings.

Cincinnati was ranked 31st in rushing offense but fell to 32nd with just 46 yards while Detroit, who was 31st, had 91.

›› Marvin Lewis and the Bengals: It’s complicated

And the Bengals’ ranking as the 28th passing offense is sure to drop as well with just 115 yards in Minnesota.

The only other time the Bengals ranked 32nd in total offense was 2008. Their lowest rushing ranking was 29th (2008) and the lowest passing ranking was 31st (2000).

Injury list grows

An already thing Bengals roster was further ravished Sunday with seven players suffering injuries, including six starters.

Safeties George Iloka (shoulder) and Shawn Williams (hamstring), tackles Cedric Ogubehi (shoulder) and Andre Smith (knee), linebackers Vinny Rey (jaw) and Jordan Evans (forearm) all left the game, as did backup running back Brian Hill (undisclosed).

The Bengals already have nine players on season-ending Injured Reserve, and that list could expand this week.

Schedule sorting out

Sunday’s loss locked the Bengals into a third-place finish in the AFC North Division, which moves them a step closer toward finalizing their list of 2018 opponents.

Fourteen of them already known:

Home: Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver, Oakland, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Away: Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, LA Chargers, Atlanta, and Carolina.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Like our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page

The two that remain depend on which teams finish in third place in the AFC East (home) and AFC South (away).

Those spots currently are held by Miami in the AFC East and Houston in the AFC South, although Buffalo and the New York Jets could still wind up third in the East, while Indianapolis could still finish third in the South.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Here’s how Arkansas’ new staff compares to its old staff in recruiting
Here’s how Arkansas’ new staff compares to its old staff in recruiting

SEC Country reporter Trent Shadid will answer your Arkansas Razorbacks football recruiting questions each weekday in our recruiting question of the day mailbag. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryHogs,  @Shadid13 or by email to Trent at  ...
Commitment spree sends Penn State surging in recruiting class rankings
Commitment spree sends Penn State surging in recruiting class rankings

Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on  Twitter or on  Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers  here. Let&rsquo...
How many recruits will Ohio State take in 2019 class?
How many recruits will Ohio State take in 2019 class?

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Ryan Donnelly a question about Buckeyes recruiting, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...
Iowa’s biggest player disappointment in Kirk Ferentz era
Iowa’s biggest player disappointment in Kirk Ferentz era

We are tackling the best question supplied by Iowa fans each day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Scott Dochterman here. Look for our Iowa Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Go here to see all of our previous answers. ANSWER: I struggle with criticizing players...
Nebraska recruiting: How many commits will Huskers get this summer?
Nebraska recruiting: How many commits will Huskers get this summer?

Nebraska finished the 2018 recruiting class on a strong note thanks to the efforts of Scott Frost and his staff, but expect the Cornhuskers to take the next step with a successful 2019 class. Land of 10’s Chris Bumbaca will answer a Nebraska recruiting question of the day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday...
More Stories