Red flags are being raised after Sunday’s loss at the buzzer in Paul Brown Stadium. Fans and analysts are left scratching their heads after the Bengals threw away a nine point lead in the fourth quarter of action against the Dallas Cowboys.
The offense of the Bengals struggled after the first quarter of play. Andy Dalton missed on thirteen passes in the game, picked up his lone touchdown in the first quarter, and tossed an interception that the Cowboys turned into a score. There were miscues galore as the Bengals struggled to put anything together, including two would-be touchdowns that would have put the Cowboys away for good.
Which begs the question: Where was BenJarvus Green-Ellis? The Dallas defense has struggled against opposing teams’ rushing attacks throughout the season and is currently ranked 16th against the run overall in the NFL. On the other hand, the Bengals running back has had the hot hand over the last three weeks. The Law Firm had averaged 116 yards in his last three games, and when he was used against the Cowboys, pulled out 89 yards on just 12 carries.
BJGE averaged 7.4 yards on Sunday when he carried the ball from scrimmage. So why didn’t the Bengals call his number more in the loss? Instead, they rotated him with Brian Leonard, who only put up 20 yards on six carries. The rest of the game they put the ball in Andy Dalton and the receivers’ hands.
Green-Ellis was having success against Dallas, unlike the passing game, and could have offered Cincinnati the ability to drain the clock, instead of throwing clock-stopping incomplete passes. If the team had used the running back more often, Dallas may not have had the opportunity to beat the Bengals at the end of the game.
Granted, there are reasons for every play called on Sunday. After a loss like this though, fans demand answers from coaches. Their decisions, whether good or bad in play calling, are scrutinized.
Is there something wrong with Green-Ellis? He was not listed on the injury report, and as far as spectators could see, he seemed to be healthy and ready to go every time he touched the ball on Sunday. So where did he disappear to in the game?
Did the coaches feel like they had already secured the game? Maybe they were trying to build Dalton’ confidence as a play caller? Possibly, Green-Ellis just needed the rest?
We may never get an answer. I would like to put out a missing person, though. We will need him in the next three games if the team hopes to make it to the playoffs.