Dave Lapham: Penalties Killing The Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have made the playoffs in six of the last seven years, including five straight. But after losing to the Giants 21-20 on Monday Night Football to fall to 3-5-1 on the season, the Bengals are in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“I just think that at this point in time you’re not giving yourself much margin for error,” former Bengal and current Bengals radio voice Dave Lapham said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “You have to start stringing some wins together. They haven’t won two in a row yet all season. They have their moments during football games, but they just can’t string anything together.”

The Bengals led 20-14 midway through the third quarter but were held scoreless in the final 23+ minutes of action. The offense had its moments, the defense had its moments, and special teams had its moments.

But none of it seemed in sync.

“It’s a tough one,” Lapham said. “It really is. You mentioned complementary football. There was one little sequence during the game where special teams did their job, the defense responded with a three-and-out, and the offense moved the football and scored a touchdown. You’re thinking, ‘Okay, well here’s the complementary football we’ve seen over the last five years (and) six out of the seven. And then it just went away. Non-complementary football has been the key to the season. Special teams did get a nice kickoff return last night, but for the most part in the course of the season, special teams have not made any plays that have changed or influenced the football game whatsoever.”

The Bengals also made far too many unforced errors. They had nine penalties for 60 yards, while the Giants had just two for 15.

“You keep shooting yourself in the foot in these close football games with penalties,” Lapham said. “You’re giving up more than half a football field. Your offense is struggling and your defense is trying to do everything they can to hold the opponent in check and you give them free passes with penalties. Man, that kills you.”

The Bengals are 1-3-1 in their last five games, with the only win coming at home against Cleveland. They host the Bills (4-5) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Buffalo has lost three straight.

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