Chargers vs. Bengals: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Cincinnati

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJanuary 5, 2014

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals passes against the San Diego Chargers during a Wild Card Playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 5, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals were defeated by the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs by a score of 27-10. This marked the first time the Bengals lost at home this season, and their streak of playoff losses under head coach Marvin Lewis moves to five.

There was plenty of promise for such a balanced and complete team heading into the 2013 season. Although the Bengals finished with an 11-5 record, they still have yet to put together a decent performance in the playoffs.

It will be back to the drawing board yet again for Cincinnati over the offseason.



San Diego Chargers - 27

Cincinnati Bengals - 10

Cincinnati Bengals' Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseA-D+
Run OffenseB-C+
Pass DefenseB+B
Run DefenseC-D-
Special TeamsBB
vs. Chargers Wild Card Playoffs


Game Analysis for the Cincinnati Bengals

Pass Offense: After a nice start to the game, Andy Dalton’s playoff woes continued. He didn't get much help in terms of protection from the offensive line but still made some terrible decisions in the second half. Two interceptions, a fumble and a terrible throw on a crucial 4th-and-3 play doomed the Bengals on Sunday.

Run Offense: Cincinnati was able to get the ground game going against the Chargers; however, the passing game stalled in the second half which hurt the balance of the offense. The Bengals did not light it up on the ground but remained solid, compiling 113 yards as a team.

Pass Defense: The decimated Bengals secondary was able to hold Philip Rivers to just 128 passing yards and one touchdown. However, Rivers was efficient, and the Chargers didn't need much more than that to defeat Cincinnati on Sunday.

Run Defense: A usually stout Bengals run defense crumbled against the Chargers today. The Bengals were unable to contain the Chargers on the ground, as they were able to rip off 196 rushing yards on the day.

Special Teams: Brandon Tate had a fine day returning, furnishing the Bengals offense with decent field position on several occasions. Kicker Mike Nugent connected on his lone field-goal attempt and punter Zoltan Mesko had a fine showing in his lone game with the team.

Coaching: The Bengals defense was able to make the necessary adjustments to contain San Diego enough to stay in the game. Multiple red-zone stops prevented the game from getting out of hand. However, the Bengals offense was unable to make the necessary adjustments during the second half and faltered in a big way.


CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 05:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by outside linebacker Jarret Johnson #96 of the San Diego Chargers during a Wild Card Playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 5, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rob Carr/Getty Images


First-Half Analysis for the Cincinnati Bengals

Pass Offense: Dalton started slow but really came alive in the second quarter. Dalton led the Bengals to 10 points and could have come away with more if it weren't for a red-zone fumble by running back Giovani Bernard. This is the best Dalton has ever looked in the NFL postseason.

Run Offense: Both Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis have been running hard against the Chargers. As a team, the Bengals have accumulated 62 yards on 15 carries for an average of 4.1 yards per carry.

Pass Defense: The Bengals got off to a hot start, as Chris Crocker sacked Rivers on the opening drive and forced a punt. Rivers was able to complete five of his six passes in the first half, but the Bengals didn't give his receivers much room, as Rivers threw for just 48 yards.

Run Defense: The Chargers started off strong on the ground. They were able to gain 57 rushing yards in the first quarter alone. However, the Bengals began to clamp down in the second quarter, but still gave up 80 rushing yards in the first half.

Special Teams: Tate was able to rip off a few nice returns which allowed the Bengals to maintain good field position during the first half. Mesko downed two punts inside the Chargers 20-yard line, and Nugent connected on a 46-yard field goal as time expired in the fist half to give the Bengals their first lead of the game.

Coaching: The defense started off a little sluggish, allowing an early score to San Diego. However, they were able to clamp down after some second-half adjustments. Offensively, the Bengals have remained very balanced, throwing 17 times and rushing 15. The Bengals players were put in a position to perform at a high level throughout the first half of play.