Bengals Have To Find A Different Way To Win

“It’s give and take. We think if we start running the ball a little better than that it will open it up and teams will have to get out of the ‘2 Tampa’ shell,” Burrow said. “The second half of the game is how it should look.”

This business of being behind-the-chains on the early downs dogged them in the first half.

It miffed running back Joe Mixon.

I feel like, as a whole, we have to take initiative. Everybody. Coaches, players, everybody is involved with everything,” Mixon said. “I’m not going to point fingers or anything like that. We have to put it on us to come out and execute. Be ready to play. For some reason, it seems like we’ve been coming up short in that area. We’ve been starting off slow; little penalties here and there that have been killing us. And get back on track. We just have to execute more.”

The first drive was blown up by a false start on right guard Alex Cappa and the werewolf Micah Parsons beat his old mentor, right tackle La’el Collins, for the first of his two sacks. The second drive was blown up on first down when 270-pound end Dorance Armstrong beat tight end Drew Sample for a sack.

Then on the next first down, Collins false started and while they did recover to get another first down, they lost four yards on a second-down tight end screen and Sample was lost for the game and maybe more with a knee injury. A particularly tough injury since Sample was a key guy in their defenses and they then had to revert to using a sixth offensive lineman (backup tackle D’Ante Smith) at times.

“We had a big package for him on third down, he was a big part of our protection,” Burrow said. “But I though (running back) Samaje (Perine) came in and executed Drew’s job very well.”

On the last series of the half Burrow again took another early-down sack, this one by edge Dante Fowler knifing inside.

“The first half we were in first and fifteen in every series so we’re just going to get third down defenses when we’re in first and fifteen,” Burrow said. “So, we’ve got to eliminate those early penalties, stay on track for the chains, and we’ll be able to take more shorts.”

Chase knows if Burrow isn’t protected, there are no shots downfield.

“We had to go to a quick game,” Chase said. “We’ve got to take some shots still. You’ve got to get that protection down, too. That’s the only way you can take shots. If Joe doesn’t have time, you can’t throw down the field.”

But Burrow took blame for “several,” of the sacks last week against Pittsburgh for apparently holding on to the ball too long and wanted to see all of Sunday’s six before he made any judgments.

“We knew that he liked to hold the ball and we knew we’ve got some guys that can go after him,” the Cowboys’ Armstrong said. “That was the goal to go do that.”

Chase says teams are leaving the middle of the field open, a prime target for Tyler Boyd.

“You can’t run go routes into a cloud and Cover Two,” Chase said. “They’re bumping us at the line and forcing us to make an outside release and pushing us to the sidelines.”

They can do that because they’re getting pressure.

“Attack the middle and run the ball,” Chase said of his answer to the Tampa Two. It is very simple.”

They’re trying to figure out how simple and they know they need to do it now. If they didn’t know they are the hunted, they know now.

“Early in the game, you’re going to have those and I can do a better job of getting the ball out quickly,” Burrow said of the pressure. “I thought, for the most part, we protected the ball well in those situations and that was my goal this week.”

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