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    CINCINNATI (AP) — Jeff Driskel was better in his second NFL start. Joe Mixon ran for more than 100 yards. A historically bad defense held its own after a rough start.With all that Deshaun Davis Jersey 2019 , the Bengals still couldn't get the one thing they really need."Need a win, and everything's better," coach Marvin Lewis said Monday. They haven't had one of those since October, leaving Cincinnati (5-8) in a freefall that's taken it from the top of the AFC North all the way to the bottom.A 26-21 loss to the Chargers was their fifth straight and their seventh in eight games, dropping them behind Cleveland into last place.The Bengals haven't finished last since 2010, when they went 4-12 overall and lost 10 in a row — their worst losing streak in Lewis' 16 seasons. They dropped the first eight games of the 2008 season, when they went 4-11-1. Their current five-game drought is the third-longest under Lewis.And there's no sign it's going to get appreciably better as the season winds down.That win they need? As elusive as a playoff victory, something they haven't gotten since the 1990 season.Cincinnati finishes its home schedule Sunday against the Oakland Raiders (3-10), who are coming off a 24-21 victory over Pittsburgh . The Bengals will likely have one of the smallest crowds in Paul Brown Stadium history. Their previous home game, a 24-10 loss to Denver, drew only 44,392 fans.The smallest crowd in the stadium's 19-year history came in 2011, when they drew 41,142 for a game against Buffalo. The Bengals are averaging 51,637 fans this season, the second-smallest attendance in stadium history behind the 2011 season.Any hopes for a strong finish ended in Los Angeles when a few out-of-character coaching decisions and a couple of unfathomable penalties led to another loss.Lewis made some bold decisions that ended badly. He decided to go for a 2-point conversion in the second quarter trailing 14-12, and it failed.He also decided to go for it on fourth-and-inches from the Cincinnati 35-yard line on the opening drive of the second half. Mixon was stopped short, leaving the Chargers in range for a field goal."It was fourth down and 4 inches basically," Lewis said. "It's aggressive, but it is 4 inches. We've got to be able to pick that up."Otherwise, Mixon had one of his best games , carrying a career-high 26 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. Driskel was 18 of 27 for 170 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions during his second start in place of Andy Dalton, out for the season with a torn thumb ligament.Driskel led the Bengals to a touchdown with 1:54 left, but he was sacked while trying to throw for a tying 2-point conversion. The Chargers recovered an onside kick and added a field goal that finished it off.And essentially finished off the Bengals' season, too."What you did last week doesn't gain anything," Lewis said. "We've got to go back and do it better and find a new way Deshaun Davis Jersey Mens , find a better way."TAKING A DIVEThe Bengals had an apparent touchdown overturned because of a new rule interpretation this season. Driskel dived toward the end zone in the second quarter and slid in for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but he landed inches shy of the goal line and the ball was spotted there.Under the rule, a runner who dives is down where they touch the ground, an effort to protect them from hits. A penalty for a false start on the next play forced the Bengals to settle for a field goal."It's an unintended consequence of the (rule) change that's made," Lewis said Monday. "And that's what happens when people don't think about all the parts of it."How a Carl Lawson sack led to an Andy Dalton game-winning Bengals touchdown Atlanta has first-and-goal from the Bengals’ nine-yard line with 4:45 remaining. If the Falcons score a touchdown (and assuming they convert the PAT), Atlanta takes a two-possession lead. It would be difficult for Cincinnati to overcome a nine-point deficit; a stop was needed, and soon. In addition to confining Atlanta’s lead, Cincinnati needed time to respond.Brandon Fusco is called for an offensive hold, penalizing Atlanta to the 19. Ryan flips a second down pass to Calvin Ridley for seven. Cincinnati uses their first timeout. Carl Lawson’s first sack of the season puts Atlanta back to the 19. Cincinnati uses their second timeout. Ryan overshoots Austin Hopper through the back of the endzone. Fourth down.Nice.Despite allowing a season-high 495 yards (and allowing a 73 percent third down conversion rate), the Bengals defense came up big when the moment called for it. For example, the blocked punt early in the third quarter placed Atlanta on the Bengals eight-yard line. The Falcons only managed a field goal, thanks in part to Geno Atkins stuffing Tevin Coleman for a two-yard loss and Carlos Dunlap dropping Matt Ryan for a quarterback sack. The defense — which carries desperate questions about their production so far — had their game-saving moments. Matt Bryant converts the 32-yard field goal with 4:18 remaining. Atlanta leads 36-31. A touchdown could still win it.In a way, it was surprising. By this point in the game, Cincinnati was struggling. They scored touchdowns on all four first half offensive possessions. Then Tyler Eifert suffered a devastating injury and Cincinnati’s momentum was sapped, gut punched even. Randy Bullock helped with a field goal on their previous possession, but other second half possessions included a blocked punt (enabled by a third down sack on Dalton), punt (also enabled by a third down sack on Dalton), and interception — enabled by poor officiating missing a defensive hold on Tyler Kroft. Boasting that Cincinnati could stage a comeback seemed farfetched.4:15 remains.Cincinnati has first down from their own 25-yard line. Do they have the mental fortitude to stage a game-winning drive? They’ve done it before. They overcame a 13-point deficit against Indianapolis and ducked Baltimore’s furious comeback on Thursday Night Football.Thanks to Carl Lawson’s second down stop and holding Atlanta to within one possession, the Bengals could do it. All you ask for is opportunities. This was ours. Over four minutes remain and Cincinnati had all three timeouts in their pockets. No mistakes. Composure. Andy Dalton, a leader of the classiest men, took charge. He was facing third down from the Bengals 29-yard line. Easy. A quick flip to one of Tyler Boyd’s slant out for a first down. “My first reaction was looking the DB in the eyes to see what coverage he was in, to see if he would give that away to me. I knew they were in man. I knew I was going to be able to set him up and beat him,” said Boyd via Two plays later, Dalton, under heavy pressure from Vic Beasley, scrambles for 11 — Beasley got to Dalton with a strip-sack on the next play Youth Deshaun Davis Jersey , but a review reversed the call and identified it as incomplete. Thanks God because I wasn’t sure at the time.Dalton’s first six passes targeted Tyler Boyd, with the fifth converting a fourth-and-eight with 1:21 remaining . Hold your shock. It was NOT a crossing route; rather a hitch route just beyond the first down marker. “I went on a 12-yard stop route. I got them to overrun it and I sat in there perfectly,” Boyd said via the mothership. The courage. The guts. Most importantly, the composure. Dalton is a machine.Cincinnati powers through an illegal hands call against Cordy Glenn with another fourth down conversion from Boyd.Starved of timeouts on the Falcons 13-yard line and :16 on the clock, the Bengals are limited to end zone passes — if they’re tackled in-bounds, they risk the clock expiring within an arm’s reach of a game-winning score. Dalton launches the first down pass toward the back right pylon, trying to arch the football over a defender for Alex Erickson. Incomplete.Dalton takes the shotgun snap on second down, and on the third step into his drop, he steps into his pass. It didn’t seem like there was anyone else. Only A.J. Green. Dalton’s pass sailed over linebacker Foyesade Oluokun and just outside of Isaiah Oliver’s reach. Now that’s a well-placed throw. Green cradles the football as he slides across the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Touchdown!What began as a Lawson quarterback sack, gloriously concluded with an Green game-winning touchdown reception.During Cincinnati’s game-winning touchdown drive, Andy Dalton went 7 of 12 for 65 yards. Seven passes targeted Boyd, who caught four for 38. All four led to first downs, including conversions of third-and-six, fourth-and eight, and fourth-and-six. Boyd finished with 11 receptions (nine leading to first downs) for 100 yards receiving. “It’s going to come down to the final drive,” said Boyd after the game. “It’s going to come down to the two offenses. We’ve got two teams with explosive offenses. We knew we got the last chance to win it. You can’t have a better moment than that. We stopped them, had them get three [points], and we finished the job. That’s what we’re coached and playing to do.”Can we talk about the officiating for a moment? Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesWith 1:22 remaining in the third quarter, Lawson powered around the edge and dropped Matt Ryan for a nine-yard loss. It was a strip-sack but offensive lineman Brandon Fusco recovered. Whatever. A nine-yard loss, on top of Alex Mack’s offensive hold on the previous play, Atlanta was facing a second-and-29. Except they weren’t.Lawson was called for roughing the passer.Wait.What?No explanation was given and Bruce Arians, one of the analysts in the booth, said they’ll “call that every time” pointing out that Lawson was in the head-and-neck area. Atlanta, not facing a second-and-long scenario, were gift-wrapped a new set of downs leading to Matt Ryan’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley — Dre Kirkpatrick bit hard on a double-move pump-fake. Mythological “roughing the passer” calls aren’t just a Bengals problem. You’ve heard about Clay Matthews recently, but the most egregious may have happened in Oakland on Sunday. Browns’ Arden Key was called for this: Cincinnati’s issues with officials this weekend weren’t limited to Lawson.With 1:53 remaining in the third White Deshaun Davis Jersey , Dalton’s pass to Kroft went through him and was intercepted by Damontae Kazee. It appears that linebacker De’Vondre Campbell was wrapped around Kroft’s head. The interception stood and Atlanta scored a touchdown on their ensuing possession.Fast-forward to the 9:30 mark in the final period. Cincinnati has first-and-goal from the nine-yard line. Andy Dalton hooks up with A.J. Green for a touchdown, which should have translated to a 35-33 lead. However, Bobby Hart was flagged for illegal hands to the face.Are you kidding me? Cincinnati’s touchdown was nullified — thankfully a defensive hold on the next play gave Cincinnati a new set of downs with Randy Bullock converting an eventual field goal, keeping the Bengals to within a possession.My complaints about officials are usually relegated to emotional outbursts on Twitter. Officials do not dictate games and even if they make a poor call, there are plenty of examples where mistakes by the team lead to their own demise. However, the officials were especially incompetent on Sunday, making questionable calls with a significant impact on the game (but thankfully, not the outcome). The league needs to address Roughing the Passer (though they conferenced during the week), and remove subjective calls while adding oversight in the booth. It’s 2018. It’s past time the league corrects this.Damn it, Tyler Eifert.Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesYou feel bad for Tyler. You have to.The back injuries, displacements, dislocations, everything he’s been through, and Eifert is facing another monumental rehabilitation. With 14:20 remaining in the third quarter, Tyler Eifert secured a two-yard pass and began riving in pain. Uh oh. It was bad. His foot was angled awkwardly — you could tell something was broken almost immediately. Medical personnel stabilized his leg on the field with an air-cast and he was carted off. Based on the replay and the disgusting post-injury placement of his foot, you knew something bad happened. Really bad. According to reports, he wasn’t taken to the hospital after the game — which is surprising.According to ESPN, Eifert broke his ankle is done for the season.Who knows if he has a career after today. You really feel for the guy — he just wants to play football, but injuries keep blocking his path like diseased trees from a significant storm.Eifert, who posted career highs in receptions (6) and yards receiver (74) last week, secured his first touchdown against the Falcons since Dec. 11, 2016. If his season is over (and we can’t imagine a scenario where it’s not), Eifert ends the year with 15 receptions, 179 yards receiving, and a touchdown.
      July 23, 2019 3:19 AM CEST