As the game progressed from there, the blaring deficiencies in the defense became evident. The game turned into another shootout and it seemed as the though the Bengals D couldn’t stop anything that was thrown or run in front of them. It was also becoming evident that Dalton, though delivering wins and big stats, was one interception away from blowing every game the team had been a part of.
The defense allowed 381 yards of total offense by the Redskins. Andy Dalton threw for 328 yards, three touchdowns, and yet another interception. The bright spot in the win for the Bengals was the 183 yards and touchdown that A.J. Green picked up on nine receptions for the day.
The Bengals stayed on the road and headed to Jacksonville after the 38-31 win over the Redskins. The defense turned things around in this game and stopped the Jaguars all day. This time the Bengals only allowed 212 total yards from their opposing team and recorded six sacks.
While everyone praised the defense, the worry grew for Dalton and his turnover issues on the field. The second year quarterback threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and another interception in the team’s 27-10 victory over the Jaguars. Another stat that didn’t sit well with Bengals fans, was that of the team’s running back. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had already been a non-factor all season long and then in the win in Jacksonville fumbled the ball twice. Though he only lost one of the fumbles, the two are important because before that moment, BJGE had never fumbled in his professional career.
Needless to say, the city and NFL announcers were excited about the Bengals. The team was suddenly 3-1 after the horrific loss to Baltimore and they looked like everyone had hoped they would in the preseason. However, the turnovers and lack of defense still left people leery of the team’s success moving forward into the season.
The team came back to Cincinnati in week five. They had a 3-1 record and were coming off a game that their struggling defense finally had a good showing in. The team and the fans thought they were finally coming in to their own and there was no reason for the team not to repeat the previous week’s success against the Miami Dolphins, who had won just one game all season with a rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.
Instead, the Dolphins did the unthinkable and turned the tables on the home team. Tannehill threw for 223 yards and zero touchdowns, but the team picked up 68 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns in the 17-13 win over the Bengals. The real winner of the game was the Miami defense who intercepted Andy Dalton two times and sacked him on three occasions.
As fans came to terms with the loss, calling it a fluke and dusting themselves off for next Sunday’s game, the Bengals tried to regroup as well. The team headed to Cleveland. They knew they would have their hands full after the last matchup they had in Cincinnati just a few weeks earlier. However, the Browns had not won a game and the Bengals were still 3-2 entering week six.
Andy Dalton raised more eyebrows of worry, though. The quarterback threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. Green-Ellis only picked up 62 yards and the defense allowed another 328 yards. The team dropped their second consecutive game by a score of 34-24 in Cleveland. They handed the Browns their first win and headed home with a .500 record, that just two weeks ago was a completely different story.
Now everyone connected to the team and around the NFL began to worry even more. Dalton was losing games with interceptions and the defense could not hold any offense at bay, not even the no-win Cleveland Browns. If this wasn’t bad enough, the team was headed into week 7 against division rival Pittsburgh.