Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals
November, 10, 2013
By Coley Harvey | ESPN.com
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 20-17 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
What it means: All of a sudden, the same Bengals team hyped as one of the best in the NFL isn't looking like it. A second straight loss has them reeling a bit. The division championship that once appeared to be a lock no longer appears that way. Now at 1-2 against AFC North teams, the Bengals will have to win every division game from here on out and rely on help from others. The Bengals didn't look very good for much of the contest offensively, and lost in overtime for the second consecutive game.
Stock watch: Andy Dalton: falling. During the windiest conditions he has dealt with this season, Dalton had trouble getting into a passing rhythm. The result of his syncopated play was a 24-for-51 showing for 274 yards, with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. It was his fourth three-interception game, and marked the first time in his career that he has thrown three interceptions in back-to-back games. All of that said, it might not be reasonable to say his stock has completely fallen. After all, he did rally the Bengals for the game-tying score that sent the game to overtime. After making a few questionable time-management decisions at the start of the drive, he ended it with a Hail Mary throw that was tipped and resulted in a 51-yard touchdown reception by A.J. Green.
Replacing Rey: For the past two weeks, second-year Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey has been tasked with replacing Rey Maualuga in the middle of Cincinnati's defense. Coach Marvin Lewis said last week that he was pleased with the way Rey filled in during last week's loss at Miami. He had five tackles on 60 snaps. If Lewis was impressed by that, he had to be beyond thrilled with Rey's play Sunday. Once again playing in relief of Maualuga, whose knee injury likely will keep him out two more weeks, Rey had 13 tackles that included three sacks. He also deflected three passes and had his first career interception.
What's next? With their marathon tour of four road games in five weeks now over, the Bengals (6-4) return home for a rematch next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (4-5). The Browns, who were idle this week, won the season's first meeting 17-6. Ahead of the Bengals' own bye week, the division matchup marks a second straight must-win scenario for them.
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