Bengals Nixing Vexing Snags On Offense

Dalton: "We have to do better on first down, to make it easier on third down. We can’t have the negative plays. I think that is a big part of it."

Cincinnati is hoping to keep bad habits from creeping into its game as the push for another playoff berth continues.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said little negatives against the Houston Texans crept into the offensive attack Monday, fueling the first loss of the season.

But, he doesn't see them becoming patterns of behavior for the Bengals, who can get back on another winning streak with a win Sunday night at Arizona.

The AFC North-leading Bengals (8-1) and NFC West-leading Cardinals (7-2) kickoff at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday Night Football.

“We have to do better on first down, to make it easier on third down. We had some penalties that set us back, making it tough for us to convert. We can’t have the negative plays," Dalton said. I think that is a big part of it, and Houston had a good plan against us."

Dalton said improvement should be on the way Sunday against the Cardinals.

"We have to play better than we’ve played, especially this past week," he said. "Even with everything that went on, we still had a chance to win at the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done.”

Dalton was asked if there is any part of his game that he's focusing on following Monday night, and said, “Yeah, sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you. There were a couple times I could have checked it down sooner than I did. I could have gone through my progressions a little quicker. Again, at the end we still had a chance.”

Dalton said, point-blank, he could have been more accurate on the interception.

“The look was right, I could have thrown a better ball, and obviously the play could have turned out different," he said. "I overthrew it, and it wasn’t that I tried to get something going. It was there; I just missed it.”

Will the Bengals have to play with a different mindset while going up against a team with an equally high-powered offense Sunday night?

“Yeah, for sure," Dalton said. "You know going into the game that they can score, and they can score quickly. You have to have that mindset, where any chance you get the ball you have to score, because you know they can on the other side.”

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