If you haven’t seen a single snap of the Cincinnati Bengals this season, just know this: it’s ugly.
Really, really ugly.
The Bengals are 0-2, they’ve lost both games at home, and they’ve yet to score a touchdown. They have nine points in eight quarters.
That’s how bad it’s been.
Is it time for Mike Brown to finally fire Marvin Lewis, who, despite his 0-7 playoff record, remains the second-longest-tenured head coach in football behind Bill Belichick?
“If you could tell me one guy on that staff who, right now, is going to make the offensive line block better, I’d say let’s do it,” Sports Illustrated and MMQB icon Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “But Mike Brown is probably the most patient man atop a team – other than the Rooney family – in the NFL. So I can’t see it happening unless it becomes an absolute four-alarm fire. Now, it can’t get a lot worse than it is right now, but it’s two games.”
Andy Dalton had five turnovers in Cincinnati’s opener against Baltimore, as the Bengals lost 20-0. He didn’t have any turnovers in Thursday’s 13-9 loss to the Texans, but he was sacked three times and was under duress early and often.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see why: there’s no Andrew Whitworth, who, after 11 seasons in Cincy, signed a three-year deal with the Rams this past offseason.
“Nobody really noticed Andrew Whitworth going to Los Angeles, but right now, Andrew Whitworth is as big a free-agent loss that a team has had in the NFL in the first two weeks of this year,” King said. “The Bengals have never been known for leaky offensive lines. Never. I covered them in 1984 when they had Anthony Munoz and Max Montoya. It was my first job covering an NFL team. They were great then, and it always seems like they build a really good offensive line. Clearly – clearly – they shouldn’t have let Andrew Whitworth walk, and that’s showing now in the first few weeks.”
But surely Cincinnati has had a few leaky offensive lines over the years, right? After all, the Bengals went 4-12 or worse five times in the ’90s and were one of the worst teams in football.
“They were,” King said, “but for a long time, they had Jim McNally coaching that line. Right now they have a great one in Paul Alexander. Look, I’m sure two or three years, they got the quarterback killed, but it hasn’t been very often. This is consistently over the years, to me, as good an offensive-line group and as well-coached an offensive-line group as there’s been in the NFL. And Kevin Zeitler (going) to Cleveland hurts, too, but I think nothing compares right now to losing Andrew Whitworth.”
The Bengals will try to get a win – or at least a touchdown – when they face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (1-0) next Sunday at Lambeau Field. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.