Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Fletcher Page discuss the team’s 31-21 at the Carolina Panthers.
Kareem Elgazzar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin didn’t hide from the reality of the 31-21 loss and 230 yards allowed on the ground at Carolina on Sunday.
“We had a stinker,” he said.
As for who was responsible for the stench, he didn’t run from that, either.
“It’s me,” Austin said. “We’ve had no problem in terms of taking care of the run the first two weeks. We ran across a unique run scheme and obviously I didn’t get it done for our guys. The guys we have, they’re good enough to do it. And we’re going to make it this week.”
Indeed, life won’t get easier for the Bengals defense as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, who have posted 68 points the last two games.
Austin’s group never caught up to the read-option rushing game of Cam Newton and Christian McCaffery. It’s a unique style, but a collection of missed assignments and missed tackles allowed a bad day to get worse.
“I think what happens when you play that type of offense if you get off-balance just a little bit, then you start second-guessing about maybe what’s going on or what is this play or what are they doing here,” Austin said. “Instead of saying hey, let’s stick with it, let’s read it, let’s go, and whatever happens. I like to always tell our guys go ahead and do it, don’t second-guess yourself and if it’s wrong, it’s my job to fix it. And so to me, that’s a lesson learned.”
Despite the rough day, Austin found optimism in the way his group stuck with the adjusting game plan and improved as the game went along. The Bengals gave up four of six third-down conversions in the first half, but only two of seven after halftime.
The defense also pulled off three consecutive stops that gave the ball back to the offense with a chance to tie the game, except the offense couldn’t manufacture the game-tying drive.
“Sometimes it’s just one of those days,” Austin said. “It’s just one of those days. But that’s why I said I like where our guys are at. I like the way they compete. Every week our guys come in to work to get better. That’s really the biggest thing. So we’ve just got to make sure when we step out on that field Sunday we’re better than we were last week.”