The Cincinnati Bengals may have lost both starting offensive tackles for season

Even in the controlled atmosphere of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, the black cloud that has hung over the Cincinnati Bengals offense opened up and dumped more cold water on it when starting tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Andre Smith were injured.Now, the final two games look to be in jeopardy for both. Ogbuehi, who has been on the injury report several times this season with a shoulder problem, looked to have aggravated it on a failed fourth down attempt with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the first quarter. He stayed in the game for the start of the next Bengals possession, which resulted in a sack of Andy Dalton. At that point, Ogbuehi walked off the field and didn’t return.The extent of his injury is still be determined.Drafted in the first round in 2015 while he was rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the 25-year-old has also dealt with a toe injury and a sports hernia. Ogbuehi has played in 14 games each of the last two seasons and last year ended a game early with a rotator cuff injury.Next year will the fourth and final year of Ogbuehi's rookie contract.Smith was injured on the very last play the Bengals ran with 2:06 to go – a deep ball from backup quarterback AJ McCarron to Josh Malone that fell incomplete on fourth-and-five.Smith's left leg was rolled up on from the side by right guard Alex Redmond while setting his block.It is likely Smith will miss the final two games, though the injury is not expected to affect his ability to participate in any kind of offseason team activities. Smith signed a one-year deal before the start of the season to compete at the right guard position, but he eventually became a swing tackle until Jake Fisher was put the reserve/non-football injury list in early November. With both tackles now injured, the Bengals are woefully thin on the offensive line with just six healthy players. Backup center T.J. Johnson was put on injured reserve on Saturday after injuring a pectoral Continue Reading

Paul Daugherty: Beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals can restore faith

The Bengals have encouraged a sort of fatalistic apathy the past two years. They lose, we shrug. Nobody around here will be surprised if they don’t beat the Steelers Monday night. Not enough will be angry about it. That’s the big issue. Losing to Pittsburgh is just a symptom. More: 5 times Pittsburgh Steelers crushed Cincinnati Bengals' hopes and dreams More: 5 times Cincinnati Bengals got best of Pittsburgh Steelers The Marvin-Andy Era has peaked. The 2015 Bengals were the 2012 Reds. That was the year, the window, the chance to be big. The Reds are in the throes of rebuilding, which at least suggests hope. Teams don’t rebuild in the NFL. That’s not how the league works.They tweak, they adjust. Teams making big changes all the time are losing teams. See: Browns, Cleveland.Just a few years ago, the experts praised the Bengals “stability.’’ Revisionists favored Mike Brown for his loyalty, and suggested Cincinnati’s lean personnel operation could teach the league a few things. Now?That same stability and loyalty has the Bengals at 5-6, against one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Their five wins have come against Buffalo, Indy, Denver and Cleveland twice. As of Sunday morning, those teams were a combined 12-32, and that’s counting the Browns just once.Monday night offers a chance to nudge the pendulum. A win might actually get a few of you interested in this team. Because right now, this year looks a lot like last year: A season that never really found its footing.The Bengals have a chance. It’s a good chance, if Antonio Brown can’t play. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is already talking about “the elephant in the room" referring to the Dec. 17 game with New England. Joe Haden won’t be tormenting A.J. Green. He’s out with a broken leg. More: Pittsburgh Steelers have a right to play games with the Cincinnati Bengals More: Cincinnati Bengals Continue Reading

Pittsburgh Steelers have a right to play games with the Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals Xtra is a weekly column from beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr. looking behind the scenes of Bengals football.George Iloka rattled off the storylines, quite literally, this week as the Cincinnati Bengals prepared for the Pittsburgh Steelers.“I know what the storylines are in terms of outside, what people would say,” Iloka began. “I have no storylines for myself. It's just 'I want to win this game.'"He continued."But I know the outside storylines. And it's fine. It's all about the storylines. Will the defense bounce back? Will we play well in primetime? Will we get the game that we need? How many games have we lost to them in a row? I know the storylines.”It’s understandable why the sixth-year Bengals safety is so well-versed.In 11 career games against the Steelers, Iloka has been a part of two victories. Pittsburgh has won five straight, eight of nine and 23 of 31 since Marvin Lewis took over in 2003.It’s not really a rivalry, per se. That requires the other team to win more than just a few times.Which is why this matchup has changed a bit the last few years – namely in the way the Steelers talk about the Bengals.They aren’t afraid to say they don’t like the players in the Paul Brown Stadium locker room.They aren’t afraid to say Vontaze Burfict is dirty and should be kicked out of the league.They aren’t afraid to make fun of Joe Mixon. Or A.J. Green for his fight with Jacksonville corner Jalen Ramsey.Or completely look over this game and talk about not just a regular season matchup in a couple weeks with New England, but a probable playoff rematch with the winner headed to the Super Bowl.As our own Paul Daugherty so appropriately wrote on Tuesday, the Bengals “are the kid they sock on the shoulder on the way to the real rumble.”And the Steelers take every chance to let them know about it."They're doing what they should do,” Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap Continue Reading

What the Pittsburgh Steelers bring to Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals

A first look at the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium.Cincinnati has won two straight games after beating Cleveland 30-16 to climb within a game of .500 at 5-6 overall. The Bengals had the league’s worst rushing offense but rookie Joe Mixon broke out for a 114-yard effort against the Browns and Andy Dalton continued his hot play with two more touchdown passes and no turnovers.Pittsburgh hosted the battered Green Bay Packers on Sunday night and overcame some early, and late, deficits to win at the gun on a 53-yard Chris Boswell field goal and improve to 9-2 Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdowns but was intercepted twice, and Antonio Brown (10 catches, 169 yards, 2 TD) and Le’Veon Bell (95 rush yards, 12 catches, 88 receiving yards) could not be stopped.Steelers players of note on offense Chris Hubbard, right tackleThe fourth-year pro stepped in for a suspended Marcus Gilbert on Sunday and played well for the Steelers, replacing the Pro Bowler with a solid effort. Pro Football Focus graded Hubbard out at 81.2, which is above average. As a whole, the Steelers allowed just nine pressures of Ben Roethlisberger and the 6-foot, 4-inch, 295-pound tackle will get Carlos Dunlap for most of the game on the Paul Brown Stadium turf. Jesse James, tight endThe Bengals linebackers have had a hard time in coverage all season, and while the focus will be on the Steelers wide receivers, James might become a favorite target of Roethlisberger on Monday. James is the fifth-most targeted receiver with 42 and has 22 catches and two touchdowns. Also keep an eye on fellow tight end Xavier Grimble for the same reasons. Chris Boswell, kickerBoswell kicked five field goals and contributed 17 points in the Steelers’ first victory over the Bengals this year and he’s got a strong leg and is more than capable from 50-plus yards. That said, he has missed three field goals and two extra Continue Reading

What the Cincinnati Bengals can expect from the winless Cleveland Browns

A first look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ Sunday contest against the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium.The Bengals finally pulled out a victory on Sunday, ending a 10-game, 42-year winless streak in Denver by beating the Broncos 20-17 to keep their fingernails on the AFC playoff edges at 4-6 overall. The defense carried the day with two key turnovers that led to two touchdowns, and Andy Dalton threw three scores – all on third down.The Browns, on the other hand, managed to let their first victory slip through their fingers to drop to 0-10. Hue Jackson’s bunch pulled to within 10-7 of the Jacksonville Jaguars and trailed just 13-7 into the fourth quarter before they fumbled away one possession at the Jaguars’ 45-yard line and then followed that up with another fumble that was returned for a score, all in the final 1 minute, 48 seconds of the game.Players of note on the Browns offense Corey Coleman, wide receiver The No. 15 overall pick in last year’s draft has battled injuries for the better part of his short career, this year being no exception. Last week was his first game since Week 5, and he caught six of 11 targets for 80 yards. A 5-foot, 11-inch, 194-pound playmaker, Coleman no doubt will be someone DeShone Kizer is looking to early and often against the Bengals. David Njoku, tight endThe No. 29 overall pick out of Miami in this year’s draft, Njoku has just 20 catches for 211 yards on the season – but he does have three touchdowns. At 6-4, 246 pounds, he’s a big, athletic target that the Browns obviously have high hopes for. Jacksonville took him away last week, but in his previous four games he averaged 5.8 targets per game. The Bengals have struggled with tight ends all season, so Njoku might find a breakout opportunity. Spencer Drango, left tackleBengals defensive end Michael Johnson had been going against All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas for nearly a decade, and rookie pass rusher Carl Lawson Continue Reading

First look at the struggling Denver Broncos as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals

A first look at the Denver Broncos as the Cincinnati Bengals complete a three-game road trip in Colorado Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.The Denver Broncos sunk to last place in the AFC West with their fifth straight defeat on Sunday night, losing 41-16 to New England at home. It was the first loss at home for the 3-6 Broncos, however. Denver continued to struggle on offense, as it turned the ball over two times and couldn’t get a running game on track to help new starting quarterback Brock Osweiler (18 of 33, 221 yards, TD, INT).The Cincinnati Bengals lost their second straight, a 24-20 nail biter in Tennessee. It was also the third loss in the last four weeks, dropping the Bengals to 3-6 also. The Bengals continued to struggle on third down on both sides of the ball, and allowed the game-winning touchdown by Titans running back DeMarco Murray on a 3rd-and-goal play from the Bengals’ 7-yard line.Broncos players of note on offense Brock Osweiler, QBSome Bengals defenders will remember Osweiler from the 2015 contest in Denver, when he turned in one of his best games in the Broncos’ Super Bowl year. Back then, Osweiler completed 69 percent of his passes for 299 yards and a touchdown for a 100.3 rating. He was benched for the playoffs however, and since then he’s had failed stints in Houston and Cleveland before being brought back to Denver to back up Trevor Siemian. But after Siemian was benched for throwing too many interceptions, Osweiler has started the last two weeks and hasn’t fared much better. He is 37-for-71 (52 percent) passing for 429 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions for a rating of 62.5. C.J. Anderson, RBThe 26-year-old runner started the year strong, rushing for 330 yards and a score through the first four weeks of the season. But since then, the Broncos have struggled to get Anderson going in the run game. He’s rushed for just 206 yards over the last five weeks and has Continue Reading

The Cincinnati Bengals have a third down problem on offense and defense

The Walkthru is a daily look at the Bengals, your questions and whatever else spills from the brains of beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski. You can follow them on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr,@JimOwczarski), Instagram (@enqbengals) as well as Enquirer Sports on Facebook for behind the scenes and breaking news.There’s a broken record playing around the Cincinnati Bengals locker room the last few weeks, but it’s been one that has become so maddeningly consistent that the problem can only be diagnosed as a deep mechanical one, rather than one that can be forgotten just by changing the vinyl.And the skipping and scratching are coming on third down.“Our Achilles’ heel – as we could tell after the game – was third downs on both sides,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Monday.Offensively, the Bengals went 1-for-10 on third down against Tennessee, including an oh-fer in the second half (0-for-6).Against Jacksonville, 1-for-8, including an oh-fer in the second half (0-for-5).Even in the win against the Colts, this was an issue. The Bengals were just 4-for-11. In Pittsburgh? Three-for-11. Oh, and another oh-fer in the second half (0-for-5).It’s to the point where even Lewis can’t pinpoint anything specific.“We have to keep looking at how we’re (going about third downs), what we’re doing with them, and how we can convert them better,” he said. “And also, understand how we’re being defended in each game. (It helps with) the adjustments that need to be made in the play-calling or formations, or whatever we need to do to get us a better opportunity to convert.”There are many reasons why the Bengals have the league’s worst offense and are ranked 30th in points scored – but a simple reason is they just don’t run enough plays. And they don’t run enough plays because they don’t get first downs.Defensively, it’s – unbelievably – the Continue Reading

Over 9,000 people petitioning for the Cincinnati Bengals to change their name to Harambes in honor of gorilla

Many are still upset over the death of Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe and now some want an NFL franchise to change their name so the memory of the animal will live on. An online petition has been started on for the Cincinnati Bengals to change their name to the Harambes in honor of the slain gorilla. The movement was started by Julian Ortiz from Gilbertsville, PA. “The Cleveland Browns named their team after a former coach who made a great impact on their city so why can’t the Bengals do it as well in honor of a hero who made an impact on their city too,” Ortiz wrote. Harambe was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old boy, Isiah Gregg, climbed into his enclosure. The zoo made the decision to shoot and kill the 17-year-old gorilla once it started dragging him around as they feared for his safety. Currently the petition has 9,540 supporters, just 460 short of the goal of 10,000. Ortiz plans to deliver the petition to the city of Cincinnati and to the Bengals organization. The Bengals were founded by former Browns coach Paul Brown in 1966. The name came from an earlier team that played in the city from 1937-1941. Continue Reading

Why the Cincinnati Bengals did not make a move at the NFL trade deadline

The Walkthru is a daily look at the Bengals, your questions and whatever else spills from the brains of beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski. You can follow them on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr,@JimOwczarski), Instagram (@enqbengals) as well as Enquirer Sports on Facebook for behind the scenes and breaking news. UPDATE: The NFL trade deadline was 4 p.m. on Oct. 31, and passed without the Cincinnati Bengals making a trade. This column has been updated for content and tense to reflect that.With the Cincinnati Bengals clinging to their playoff hopes at 3-4 and in need of improvement across several offensive areas – should they have made a deal?It's easy to say yes. The Enquirer had learned the club wasn't really interested in making a move – even along the offensive line, but the Bengals had the necessary resources to do so.According to the National Football League’s Players Association (NFLPA), the club has just over $11.8 million available in cap space for this year (though the club will say it’s lower than that) and have plenty of draft capital to work with, due in large part to three free agents who left and some trades they already made.The club lost a 2018 seventh-rounder to Jacksonville for acquiring defensive end Chris Smith in April but got it back in August for sending linebacker Marquis Flowers to New England.So, the Bengals have their entire seven-round draft class intact for 2018, and the freakishly accurate compensatory pick projection has them getting an additional third rounder for Kevin Zeitler, an extra fifth-rounder for Andrew Whitworth and – believe it or not – an extra seventh rounder for Margus Hunt.That’s 10 picks – and seven in the first five rounds – to infuse into a roster that couldn’t find room for four of the 11 picks they had in 2016. (The team has nine unrestricted free agents heading into 2018, and one restricted free agent in AJ McCarron.)And Continue Reading

A first look at the Jacksonville Jaguars as the Cincinnati Bengals start road trip

A first look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ first of three straight road games as they head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars at EverBank Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.The Bengals are coming off a nail-biter, beating the Indianapolis Colts 24-23 despite fumbling away a punt, having a field goal blocked, fumbling away a possession and giving up three sacks and six quarterback hits on offense and giving up over five yards per carry to a 35-year-old running back on defense. But, the defense scored a touchdown and made the game-saving fourth-down stop, putting the Bengals at 3-4 and once again on the verge of playoff relevancy.The Jaguars are coming off a bye and the acquisition of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to an already-stacked defensive unit that is No. 1 in points allowed, No. 6 overall and No. 1 against the pass. Their last game was also against the Colts, on Oct. 22, a 27-0 victory in which they sacked Jacoby Brissett 10 times and put up 518 yards of total offense. They are 4-3 and currently in one of the two AFC Wild Card spots.Jaguars players of note on offense Leonard Fournette, RBThe Bengals liked the rookie running back out of LSU but the Jaguars snapped him up with the No. 4 overall pick for a reason. The 6-foot, 240-pound running back is without question the engine of the offense, averaging 21.7 carries and 99.3 yards per game. He leads the league in rushing touchdowns with six, and has proven he can catch the ball a bit too with 15 receptions for another 136 yards and a score. Marquise Lee, WRThe Jaguars don’t throw the ball a lot on purpose, but when they do the 26-year-old fourth-year player is one of Blake Bortles’ primary targets. He is averaging a team-high 15.1 yards per reception – by far a career high – but is only bringing in 52.2 percent of his targets (24 catches on 46 targets). He has to catch a touchdown. Blake Bortles, QBOnce considered the franchise quarterback, the fourth-year signal Continue Reading