Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals are a young team with ridiculous expectations. Sunday's performance in Chicago showed the Bengals have plenty of work to do.
First of all, the coaching staff has to do a better job of organizing its player. Cincinnati burned back-to-back timeouts before and after one snap of the football because there were too few players on the field, then too many.
Part of this error occurred because linebacker Vontaze Burfict was coming in and out of the game thanks to an injury, but it's inexcusable nonetheless.
Perhaps most concerning of all, outside of the aforementioned ball security, is the simple lack of disipline from the players.
Second-year cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick lost his cool before the end of the first half and committed a personal foul that allowed the Bears to knock through a 58-yard field goal.
More glaring was the mistake committed by fifth-year pro Rey Maualuga, who lost his cool in the closing moments of the game. Cincinnati had no timeouts remaining, but notched a stip that would have given the ball back to the Bengals' offense for one last shot at a comeback.
Instead, Maualuga was flagged for a personal foul penalty after driving an offensive lineman into the ground after the whistle, giving Chicago a fresh set of downs and allowing the Bears to kneel and run out the clock.
High expectations on young teams are a dangerous thing. The 2013 edition of the Bengals is now proof of that for the moment. Rapid growth and increased maturity are required if this team wants to be a contender.
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