BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Dalton Struggles, Bengals Still Clamp Down on North

daltbrowns

There’s not much to say about last week. The Bengals basically ran away with the North with their win over the Browns, the Steelers won but still don’t look legitimate and you know how the Ravens game ended…

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading “Behind Enemy Lines”.

Not really, but that about sums it all up! Here are a few of the more in-depth storylines including some of the teams’ top headlines.

 

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Johnson Calls Out Fans: Even at 7-4, the Bengals still don’t look like the real AFC contender that many thought they would be. At one point in the first quarter, Bengals fans got a bit fed up with their team’s poor play. Here’s an excerpt from ESPN’s Cole Harvey:

“If you’re not believing and being positive, leave,” Johnson said while changing after the win. “We don’t need you. Because that’s what we’re about around here — staying focused, staying positive and keeping our energy going. Negativity breeds negativity, and we don’t do that around here.”

Specifically, he was referring to a sequence late in the first quarter when seemingly thousands of fans booed Cincinnati’s offense following a third series that ended in a three-and-out. As quarterback Andy Dalton and the rest of the Bengals’ offense jogged off the field to give way to the punt unit, the masses made it known that they were restless and angry.

Playoffs Close, Playoff Win Isn’t: The Bengals are a pretty complete team. They have the weapons on offense; the defense is impressive; and Andy Dalton has done enough. But when is enough—good enough?

Dalton continued to struggle despite the Bengals’ 41-20 victory. The team may have scored 41 points, but Dalton had just 93 yards all day, his third career game under 100 yards. This guy has elite wide-outs and running backs, but is he going to be able to go toe-to-to against the AFC’s top QBs in the playoffs? That answer is probably a resounding ‘No”.

For the regular season, Dalton might be your guy, but if you ask me, he isn’t clutch or even good enough to lead this team to a Super Bowl.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

It’s Time to Start Searching: Jason Campbell isn’t the guy. Brandon Weeden isn’t the guy. As much as fans like to think it, Brian Hoyer isn’t the guy either. Give it up, Cleveland! After you tanked your season early, you should have kept losing.

Now with four wins, the Browns will miss out on Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota—probably Johnny Manziel too. Those guys are all top-10 picks and with the extraordinary need at quarterback this year, the Browns might have to settle with a guy like Derek Carr from Fresno State.

Carr is a senior whose skills will match perfectly with the weapons that the Browns offense has. There’s nobody on this roster that is the long-term answer, so Cleveland is going to have to take a big risk in May (remember, the draft was moved).

Browns Suffer More Scares than One: Halloween is over, right? No need to be afraid if you’re a pro football player! Unfortunately for the Browns, the scares ended after their awful loss. According to ESPN the team endured a pretty tough landing on their flight after their 21-point loss.

It doesn’t appear that the plane was at any risk of a crash landing, but some players were pretty shaken up. Here are a few quotes:

“I didn’t think it was that bad,” tight end Jordan Cameron said. “But some of the guys ended up calling their moms after.”

[From Defensive Lineman Billy Winn] “If anyone told you it wasn’t that bad, they were lying to you,” Winn said.

Thankfully, the team landed safely. It just seems like the Browns can’t get anything to go their way this year…well, decade.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Help From Stafford: Matthew Stafford went WILD in the first quarter against the Steelers. Let’s just say he was on pace to throw for about 600 yards after the first half. They should have the game in the bag, right? Wrong. Stafford may have come up pretty clutch in prior games, but not this one. This was ugly.

The 4th quarter is crunch time.

The 4th quarter for Matthew Stafford was crumbling time.

He went 0-10 with an interception in the final quarter, and to make matters worse, he took a sack on the final offensive play of the game. The Lions had this game! The Steelers shouldn’t have won. It’s simple—the Lions offense as a whole failed to deliver.

Playoffs: Slowly, Steeler fans have started to make their presence known now that their team is on all of the “In the Hunt” columns on Playoff Pictures. Don’t worry – you’ll hear the word “six” about six million times this week. It’s proven—six is the only word that Steeler fans know. Seriously! Test it out… ask them any tough question about their football team and they won’t know it—but ask them about the number of Championships they have in over 80 YEARS and they’ll know the answer.

Anyway, don’t worry! Those same fans will be gone in a few weeks. Already with six losses, they have to be perfect to have a shot at the postseason thanks to their tough schedule. They play all three division opponents in three of the next four weeks. After that, they have the Dolphins, Packers and Browns again to finish the season.

In the famous words of Jim Mora: “Playoffs?”

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

One Rave about “BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Dalton Struggles, Bengals Still Clamp Down on North

  1. joe d on said:

    I still think 9-7 wins you the division. Cincy still has to play Pittsburgh, Indy and the Chargers in addition to us. I could see them losing 3 0f their final 5

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