Posted: 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013
By Josh Kirkendall
Heading into the season, Cincinnati has played far more comfortably on the road with this version of the Bengals that opened shop in 2011. Between 2011-12, the Bengals were 11-5 on the road while maintaining a split record (8-8) at home; that doesn't include the two postseason losses, so 11-7 if you want to include those.
Oddly, things have shifted this year. Due to their losses in Chicago and Cleveland, the Bengals are winless on the road while undefeated at home with high-profile wins against the Steelers, Packers, and Patriots.
"I would say I get a sense or a feeling in the room that when things don't go how they're supposed to go right away, I don't want to say we panic, but there is a sense of "Oh [no], here we go,'" Bengals safety Geroge Iloka said via ESPN.com.
In fairness, the Bengals played well against the Bears during opening weekend, maintaining a 21-17 lead until the seven minute mark in the fourth quarter. Andy Dalton was efficient completing nearly 80 percent of his passes, tossing two touchdowns to A.J. Green, who posted a season-high 162 yards receiving.
However, mental errors prevented Cincinnati from putting the game away. Mohamed Sanu's fourth quarter fumble led to a Bears touchdown to give Chicago a 24-21 lead with 7:58 remaining in the game. Cincinnati's offense responded with a three-and-out and Rey Maualuga's late personal foul prevented Cincinnati from having an opportunity to tie the game.
And while the offense has been targeted with most of the team's criticism this year, it was the defense that struggled late in Chicago, allowing 141 yards in the fourth quarter, seven first downs and a 60 percent third down conversion rate. The Bears offense dominated time of possession with over 12 minutes in the final period because the defense couldn't get off the field.
Cleveland was just bad.
"We’ve got to put our road warrior hats on and go to work," head coach Marvin Lewis said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Last year (the media) were blowing smoke up our butts telling us how good we were on the road, so I’m waiting for you to do that."
The Bengals head to Buffalo seeking that first win on the road this year. Though history has little influence on how the games are played today, the Bengals haven't won in Buffalo since 1985, three years before A.J. Green was even born. Larry Kinnebrew and James Brooks combined for 183 yards rushing and Eddie Brown posted a 68-yard touchdown reception to give Cincinnati a 10-6 lead in the second quarter.
Lewis has coached two games in Buffalo during his 11-year tenure as Cincinnati's head coach. The Bengals scored 10 points in the fourth quarter before a Rian Lindell field goal late in the fourth quarter sent 2003's game into overtime. Cincinnati went three-and-out to open the fifth period, punting after a three-and-out. Buffalo would go on to score a touchdown. Four years later in 2007, Cincinnati was leading 21-19 early in the fourth quarter before the Bills scored two touchdowns, capped by a Marshawn Lynch 56-yard score.
"We need to go to some away games and get some W’s. This week is a big week for us. We can’t let ourselves down like we did against the Browns. We got to keep playing at a high level like we did at the Patriots."