The Cincinnati Bengals should be better than their 3-5 record, but that is where they stand after another tough loss at home.
There are some positives to take away from the game, like the breakout performance of Jermaine Gresham, who finished with 108 receiving yards from the tight-end spot. In addition, Terence Newman had two interceptions on the day, which is no easy task against Manning.
However, there are problems that have plagued the team all season that do not seem to be going away. If the Bengals have any chance of redemption this year, they will need to make these improvements.
Turnovers have been one of the biggest problems of the season for Cincinnati. Even though the team won that battle on Sunday, Andy Dalton threw yet another interception late in the game.
The second-year quarterback has thrown an interception in every game this year. This is not the way to become an elite passer in this league.
In the game against Denver, the pass was out of desperation on 3rd-and-25 with the team trailing in the fourth quarter. However, it gave the Broncos great field position to get another touchdown, which basically put the game out of reach.
Dalton needs to make smarter decisions with the football going forward to give his team a chance to win.
Get the Run Game Going
BenJarvus Green-Ellis keeps getting consistent carries, but he is not earning it with production.
The former New England Patriot has not topped 100 yards this year, and he has been held to fewer than four yards per carry in every game since Week 1.
He did get his third touchdown of the season against the Broncos, but that was only a two-yard run. In all, he was held to 56 yards on 17 carries with minus-three yards receiving.
The team must find a way to get better production out of the run game to help balance the offense and control the game. Whether that means changing formations to add blockers or just getting more carries to Cedric Peerman, something needs to change.
Cincinnati will not be able to survive the season if the run game stays the same.
Keep Making Plays on the Ball
The Bengals were solid statistically against the pass this year, but the secondary was exposed this week by Peyton Manning. He completed 77 percent of his passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns.
Terence Newman's interceptions saved it from being a much worse day on the defensive end.
These were only the fourth and fifth interceptions of the season, despite the fact that the team has faced four rookie quarterbacks this year. Including Sunday's game, opposing quarterbacks have also completed 68.3 percent of passes this year, which is third-worst in the NFL.
Better quarterbacks will be able to torch this defense if the players do not start playing closer to receivers and attack the football when it is in the air.
This team is not far from being a perennial playoff contender. There are a lot of very good pieces that will be together for years. However, there are still a few issues that need to be fixed in order for the Bengals to reach their potential.
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