"What we've found out so far though is that we can be a very good football team if we don't beat ourselves," said head coach Lovie Smith. "What we found is if we don't play well, we're going to lose. It's kind of as simple as that. But I choose to remember that team that played a couple weeks ago, the one that beat Detroit, and that's what we have to find. We have to get that team back. That's a good football team and that's what we are."
The most obvious difference between a blowout win in Week 2 and the flipside in the Week 3 was the play of Kyle Orton. The rookie quarterback had no turnovers in the 38-6 victory over Detroit, but threw five interceptions against Cincinnati a week later.
"Just because I played poorly doesn't (mean) I'm going to have an epiphany or anything and become a great quarterback all of the sudden," Orton said. "I went back watched film, broke it down, evaluated myself just like every game and saw that I struggled on a few plays."
Not all the blame can go Orton's way.
Despite allowing just 169 yards through the air, the pass defense surrendered three touchdowns, including two by No. 1 cornerback Charles Tillman. Carson Palmer's first TD pass to Chad Johnson was a perfect throw, but Tillman was also flagged for pass interference leading to a field goal and later beaten by a rookie for another score.
"We're not going to completely change his game," Smith said. "This week or the next time we play. The Cleveland game he'll be in a little bit better position, he'll get a little bit better break, the rush we'll be a little bit better and we'll make those plays."
Kicker Doug Brien missed his third field goal attempt in four tries before halftime, which would have made it a one-possession game at the break. Smith proved to have little patience for Paul Edinger's inconsistency for putting the ball through the uprights last year and is showing signs of annoyance at Brien's struggles.
Still it appears at this point the organization will not look to tryout kickers during the bye week and that goes for every other position.
"We're going to go with our team that we have right now," Smith said. "We're three games into the season. We have a chance this week to really analyze exactly what we're doing, look at our personnel, but we don't plan on bringing in different personnel.
"We're going to get the guys that we have here now better. That's our plan for all positions—kicker, quarterback and any other position we have."