NFL Football
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Bengals glad for short week after dismal performance

(TSX / STATS) -- CINCINNATI -- Sunday's season opener against the Baltimore Ravens seemed to set up pretty well for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals were playing at Paul Brown Stadium. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had only four full days of practice after missing all of the preseason and training camp with a back injury. The Ravens were banged up, while Cincinnati mostly was healthy.

But, after an entire summer talking about how motivated the team was to rebound from a dismal 6-9-1 campaign last year, the Bengals instead fell flat in a 20-0 loss.

"I don't know if I've ever been in such a disappointing football game," head coach Marvin Lewis said.

Quarterback Andy Dalton matched a career high with four interceptions and lost a fumble. The worst-case scenario for the Bengals played out behind an offensive line with three first-year starters, as Dalton was sacked five times and hurried often.

The most glaring gaffe by the offensive line came when linebacker Terrell Suggs blew past left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and forced a fumble from behind. Dalton never saw him.

"We felt like we knew the looks we were getting," said Dalton, who was 16 of 31 for 170 yards for a 28.4 rating. "We didn't make any plays, and it starts with me. It's my fault; I didn't play well and give us a chance to win."

As bad as things got last season, Dalton rarely was the problem. He passed for more than 4,200 yards and 18 touchdowns with only eight interceptions despite being sacked 41 times.

After one game, Dalton is halfway to last season's interception total.

"We're all competitors out there," receiver A.J. Green said when asked about being visibly frustrated during Sunday's game. "I hate to lose. I hate the ball to be intercepted. It's the first game, so we've got a long season ahead of us."

Tight end Tyler Eifert, one of Dalton's primary weapons, had one catch, the only time he was targeted.

Flacco was effective enough against Cincinnati's defense, passing for 121 yards and a touchdown with one pick. Baltimore relied on its running game in the second half, rushing for 157 total yards including one 18-play, nearly 10-minute drive to close out the win.

"We hurt ourselves with some penalties on third down that gave them some first downs," said linebacker Nick Vigil. "And we missed some tackles on that drive that could have gotten us off the field."

Lewis said there was no time to pout about Sunday's loss. He's right.

Cincinnati hosts J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Houston is coming off an equally disheartening 29-7 loss at home to Jacksonville.

Dalton has been adept at coming back strong after bad performances and he'll get a chance this week.

"You have to learn the type of player you are," Dalton said. "You have to put your head down and go to work. You have to do everything possible to put yourself in the best position. It's a short week, so we have a quicker time to put this behind us."

--Bengals running back Joe Mixon didn't have much to say about making his NFL debut in a 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. But, he looked good while rotating with fellow backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Mixon rushed for 10 yards on three carries and caught one pass for nine yards, providing a glimpse of the elusive open-field moves he showed in the preseason.

"I'm blessed to be here," Mixon said. "Just have to play better. I don't know what else to tell you."

Mixon was a controversial second-round draft choice out of the University of Oklahoma, where he was suspended for punching a woman. The Bengals were outrushed 157 to 77 by the Ravens.

--Bengals cornerback Adam Jones returned to team activities on Monday on a roster exemption after serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy during an incident at a downtown Cincinnati hotel in January. His exemption ends Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

"I'm in shape and ready to go," Jones said on Monday. "Like I said, I put myself in this situation. I've already apologized to my teammates, Mr. (owner Mike) Brown, all of my coaches. Now it's back to the basics, helping my team try to win a game."

NOTES: RG T.J. Johnson might get his shot at starting guard after all. He took over for Trey Hopkins, who suffered a potentially serious knee injury late in the second quarter of Sunday's 20-0 loss to the Ravens and played well. Johnson was re-signed this past spring as a restricted free agent. ... DE Michael Johnson suffered a stinger and was being evaluated for a concussion after leaving Sunday's loss to the Ravens just before halftime. His status for Thursday night's game against the Houston Texans was not yet known. He had one tackle prior to leaving the game. ... DE Chris Smith, a fourth-year player acquired from Jacksonville in a trade in April, had just one tackle for loss on Sunday, but played well. "He moved around in there and played with great energy," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "He got an opportunity in the second half without Michael (Johnson)." ... CB Dre Kirkpatrick was wearing a boot after Sunday's game and on Monday. Kirkpatrick said he was stepped on and will be ready to go on Thursday night against the Houston Texans.

Updated September 11, 2017

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2017 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.