Oh, the Bengals could rue this one.
The Bengals had a 21-10 third-quarter lead at Chicago on Sunday, but they could not hold it, and the Bears, on the strength of a strong second half from their offense and timely playmaking from their defense, earned a 24-21 victory at Soldier Field.
The Bengals’ defense is one of the NFL’s better groups, but on Sunday, it allowed two second-half TD drives of 80 yards or more, with the latter one ending in what ultimately was the decisive TD catch from Brandon Marshall midway through the fourth quarter. What’s more, Chicago held the ball for the final 6:38 to secure victory.
Turnovers hurt the Bengals. Andy Dalton was picked by Charles Tillman on his second pass, which set up a Martellus Bennett touchdown. In the fourth quarter, wideout Mohamed Sanu fumbled not long after the Bengals had forced a turnover their own, giving the ball right back to Chicago, which capitalized with Marshall’s TD catch to punctuate an eight-play drive.
The Bengals did plenty of good things on Sunday. A.J. Green (nine catches, 162 yards, two TDs) played very well. Also, the Bears are a skilled team capable of a strong comeback like they put together on Sunday. And hey, all teams go through Sundays like the one Cincinnati had.
Nevertheless, this was a game the Bengals didn’t finish as strongly as they will need to if they are to be contenders.