Upon further review, the Bengals give themselves a passing grade for Sunday's home-opening win over the Chargers, with some cavils.
“We played a game where I thought starting with the defense, we could play a lot better," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "We have some things to get after and fix. I look forward to having that week of getting it done. Offensively, there are some negative things to correct. The fumbles are two big-time glaring errors, some things in the running game. We have some work to do. Same with special teams; we can’t have penalties. Those things set us back."
On the other side of the ball, Lewis was a little more forgiving.
“Defensively, we got some good things done, and one of the things to build upon is getting the ball out around the quarterback, which two in two weeks we’ve done," the coach said. "We have to continue to tackle better. If the ball happens to break the line of scrimmage, we have to do better at tackling.”
Lewis said depth and freshness on defense has been a key thus far, and he won't be changing it up any time soon unless injuries force his hand.
“I think continuing to give guys opportunities to play is important. They have to do it the correct way when they’re in there," Lewis said. "Having fresh rushers at the end of the game is always important.”
Coming up especially big in the San Diego game was the defense bailing out the offense by attempting to equal the turnover differential after each of Jeremy Hill's fumbles, which forced the running back to the bench in favor of Giovani Bernard, and forced the "D" to step up.
“Both were big things, with the opportunities we had to go on the field in sudden change," said the coach. "We got the ball back in one, and the other they missed a field goal. Those were two key drives in the game. You have to have that mindset when you go on the field; to get in there and get the drive stopped.”
The offense also responded well to sudden change.
“Yes. We scored twice on third downs," said Lewis. "Those are big plays in any football game, when you can score touchdowns on third downs. They were good, accurate throws by the quarterback, and those turned into big plays of the game. We just have to keep after that. The defense stopping the two-point conversion was also a big play in the football game.”