Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati was the definition of “frustration” for the New England Patriots. While another strong defensive effort was put forth by the New England defense, the Patriots offense was unable to get in gear all game long. As the skies opened up and the rain fell in the fourth quarter, the Patriots opened up their offense, but it was too little, too late against a strong Bengals defense.
The Patriots offense never got anything going against Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike “How in the World Has No One Hired Him as a Head Coach Yet?” Zimmer throughout the entire game. After a trading punts to open the second half, Cincinnati finally made some headway against New England working the middle of the field much like Atlanta had done with tight end Tony Gonzalez the week previous. While Cincinnati got to the 25 yard line, a sack by linebacker Jerod Mayo put the Bengals at the 32 yard line where they settled for a 50 yard field goal.
After another ineffective Patriots drive, the Bengals finally found the end zone as they punched it in to take a 13-3 lead. The Bengals had some strong running by both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Gio Bernard to get down the field on an extended drive and get six on the board. The Patriots responded immediately, as quarterback Tom Brady found rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson on a 56 yard pass. Unfortunately, Dobson fumbled, then recovered, and New England was on the 17 yard line. A pass to a diving danny Amendola put New England inside the one yard line.
After running back Legarrette Blount was stopped on first down, the Patriots called a strange play: trying to complete a pass to tackle Nate Solder. On third down, Brady could not connect with wide receiver Julien Edelman, and the Cincinnati Bengals had a huge goal line stand to force the Patriots to kick a field goal.
After a fumble by Cincinnati’s rookie running back Gio Bernard, New England looked ready to tie the game up. However, the Patriots went incompletion, incompletion, and sack and punted away to the Bengals with 2:40 left to play. Again, the New England defense stepped up. Playing without defensive tackle Tommy Kelly who appeared to suffer a knee injury, the defense held up against Green-Ellis and they got the ball back with just under two minutes to play.
Fighting the elements as the sky opened up and driving rain pummelled quarterback Tom Brady along with the strong Cincinnati defensive line and linebackers on the final drive of the game, the Patriots somehow worked their way down towards the Cincinnati end zone. A defensive offsides penalty allowed the Patriots to keep possession. A draw play and later a roughing the passer penalty allowed New England to get to the Cincinnati 27.
This was where the Patriots previous failure to get into the end zone when at the one yard line came back to bite them. Rather than focusing on getting into position to try a tying field goal, they had to try to get into the end zone. Under-throwing the ball into the elements, Brady’s pass to Aaron Dobson was well short and Bengals cornerback Adam Jones made an acrobatic catch at the three yard line to cement the victory. Cincinnati won to move to three wins and two losses while New England fell to four and one.
The first half was a mass of strong defensive stands as neither team got much traction against the other squad’s defense. Neither team had much success either running or passing the ball in the first half, and when they did, each team had costly turnovers. After a scoreless first quarter, the second quarter was highlighted offensively by both teams trading field goals. For the record, the first half went punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, punt, fumble, field goal, punt, punt, field goal.