CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 06: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals is seen during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Report Card: Grading the Bengals’ performance in loss to Cardinals

After coming back to tie the game with two minutes left, the Bengals couldn’t get the stop they needed on defense and Arizona won 26-23 on Zane Gonzalez’s 31-yard field goal at the gun. Cincinnati (0-5) has now lost 12 of its last 13 games dating back to the second half of the 2018 season, including three losses by four points or less this year.

»ARCHDEACON: Boos come early, often for winless Bengals

The Bengals trailed 23-9 with 7:13 left before getting their first touchdown since the fourth quarter of a Week 3 game at Buffalo. They scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives in less than a three-minute span to knot the score before rookie quarterback Kyler Murray led the Cardinals on the game-winning drive.

Here are the Week 5 report card grades.

RUN OFFENSE

The Good: Joe Mixon rushed eight times for 60 yards on the opening drive and finished with 19 carries for 93 yards, which were both season highs. The offensive line was creating holes that previously haven’t existed, and he took advantage that first drive before Arizona adjusted defensively.

The Bad: After that first drive, Mixon had just one other series where he was effective enough to keep running the ball. Giovani Bernard still hasn’t been utilized, as he had two carries for 10 yards.

»ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from gut-wrenching loss to Cardinals

Key Play: Coach Zac Taylor decided to go for it on fourth-and-inches from the Cincinnati 42-yard line and Andy Dalton couldn’t convert on a keeper. Arizona used the short field to extend its lead to 16-9 on a field goal. Had the Bengals gotten the first down, they would have kept driving for the chance at the lead.

Grade: C

PASS OFFENSE

The Good: Dalton completed 10 of 11 passes on the final two drives to rally the Bengals from a two-touchdown deficit and tie the game. He didn’t have any turnovers and was sacked just once for no loss. Tyler Boyd finished with 123 yards and his first touchdown the season.

The Bad: As good as Dalton was on the last two drives, he was inconsistent earlier in the game. He missed an open Tyler Eifert in the end zone on the first drive of the third quarter, and the Bengals settled for a field goal instead but a touchdown would have tied the game.

»PHOTOS: Cardinals keep Bengals winless

Key Play: Tyler Boyd scored on a 42-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 23-23 with two minutes left and also had a 29-yard catch to begin that drive. Without his big plays, the Bengals wouldn’t have had a chance.

Grade: C-

RUN DEFENSE

The Good: The Bengals limited the Cardinals to 23 yards rushing in the third quarter, which at least helped keep them in the game. Arizona managed just three points in that time.

The Bad: The Cardinals finished with a season-high 266 yards rushing on 38 carries. Kyler Murray finished with 93 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries, and David Johnson added 91 yards on 17 carries.

Key Play: Chase Edmonds broke loose for a 37-yard touchdown run to give Arizona a 23-9 lead with 7:13 left and that gave the Cardinals the cushion they needed to keep the Bengals from being able to go ahead. Murray’s 24-yard scramble on the final drive also proved key in setting up the game-winning field goal.

Grade: F

PASS DEFENSE

The Good: Larry Fitzgerald managed just 58 yards on six catches and no touchdowns. B.W. Webb got in front of him on a big third down on the drive between Cincinnati’s two touchdowns to tie it.

The Bad: The pass rush was almost non-existent, as the Bengals got to Murray just one time for a five-yard loss. Arizona had allowed a league-worst 20 sacks through the first four games. A roughing the passer call on Geno Atkins on a 23-yard completion tacked on another 10 yards on a second-quarter drive that resulted in a field goal. Dre Kirkpatrick was called for a face mask on Arizona’s first touchdown drive.

Key Play: Johnson caught a 17-yard pass over his shoulder on second down to help set up Edmonds’ touchdown in the fourth quarter, and he also had a 24- yard catch on the final drive.

Grade: C

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Good: Randy Bullock was 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 48-yarder. Brandon Wilson stepped up to replace Alex Erickson on kick returns after Erickson left with a concussion early in the second quarter. He had three returns for 97 yards, including a 52-yarder in the second quarter to set up a long field goal to make it 10-6.

The Bad: Penalties continue to impact the Bengals on special teams. There were two called Sunday on the same return.

Key Play: Andre Brown was called for an illegal double team block on a 40-yard kick return in the fourth quarter, resulting in the Bengals having to start the drive from their own 8-yard line. The Bengals ended up punting that drive.

Grade: B+

COACHING

The Good: The Bengals figured out a way to keep Dalton from sustaining pressure a week after he was sacked eight times, and they led the team back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game with two minutes left. Taylor won a challenge to reverse an incompletion when Erickson caught a pass to convert a first down early in the second quarter.

The Bad: The redzone struggles are a big problem, as the Bengals were 1-for-4 in the red zone the last two games combined and need to figure that out sooner in games. They didn’t adjust well enough to stop the run, whereas Arizona figured out how to slow Mixon after the first drive. Bernard and Eifert seem badly under-utilized.

Key Play: The decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches from the Cincinnati 42-yard line ended up biting the Bengals, as Dalton rushed for no gain.

Grade: C-

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