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Bengals Bad At Math And Clock Management

Cincinnati's fourth quarter clock mis-management cost them Sunday.

Cincinnati’s is about as good at telling time as Mitt Romney is at connecting with Hispanic and women voters.

With 6:35 left in Sunday's game, Cincinnati was sitting on top of a 19-17 point lead over the Dallas Cowboys. The Bengals had the ball and were hoping to either score a touchdown to put the game into a two score situation or at the very least score a field goal to force Dallas into having to score a touchdown to win.

If Cincinnati could accomplish neither of these scoring scenarios the next best thing is to not eat up the clock. They should assume Dallas would score a field goal and that the Bengals will need time left on the clock to score too. Instead, Cincinnati decided to eat up the clock before giving the ball back to Dallas with 3:44 left in the game and needing only a field gold to win. This makes absolutely no sense.

Running the clock down could be justified if they were running it under a minute and forcing Dallas to go to a hurry up offense. But 3:44 is the perfect amount of time for Dallas to manage the clock, grind the ball down the field and set themselves up for the game winning field goal. Note, this is exactly what Dallas did in their 20-19 win Sunday.

With a meager two-point lead, Cincinnati shouldn’t have been thinking about running the clock down with over six minutes left. They should be thinking about leaving enough time for another Bengal’s possession. If it looks like they aren’t getting points on their possession they shouldn’t grind the clock to an easily managed three minutes. They should save those minutes in anticipation of getting the ball back.

The Bengals should have realized that the Cowboys were in four down territory with the game on the line and under four minutes to play.

The Bengal defense hadn’t been spectacular all day, giving up 288 yards and this wasn’t the scenario to put your mediocre Bengal’s defense in to win.

Basically, Cincinnati left just enough time on the clock for Dallas to win and not give themselves any chance to respond. If they knew they were going to try and attack through the air like they did, they should have been more efficient. This way they would have the opportunity to respond and get a game winning field goal of their own if they were forced to punt on their last possession. Cincinnati’s failure to control the clock and anticipate the next likely game situation with a 2-point lead cost them the game. 

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