Having missed the Steelers game wrap up last week due to me being out of state (hurricane fallout escape), my take on the Bengals game can also be applied to the Steelers game I think.
1) Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh second half slump! It's unfathomable how poorly we do when comparing seasonal first and second halfs under TC, but it's almost as reliable (especially in November) as a certain geyser in Yellowstone (I'll try to delve into this mystery of mysteries further down).
2) Sandy that *****! More fall out (energy wise) was fairly evident. I thought the Steelers game could be chalked up to that and to a degree, I think that recovery malaise is still hanging around. Having done a working vacation and still catching up from Sandy, I can only imagine what it was like having to deal with it in the first person, post Sandy.
3) The team is just misfiring all the way around. At times we look good (and by "at times", I mean a play here and there) but when taken on the whole, it's obvious we're not competing either from an execution standpoint or an energetic one.
4) Why the patented second half collapses, especially in November? My take on it is that while TC is described as crafty and ingenius (I don't think he is either), his real genius resides in his ability to remember and hit upon all the nitty-gritty. He dots the I's and crosses the T's better than almost any coach in the NFL currently BUT he does it in such a way that his players start tuning him out. He is not an engaging personality (never has been) and it's often too easy for him to fall into "lecture" mode, of which it's even easier for a young player to tune that out (especially when its been drilled into you for the past three months (including pre-season)). He seems to change tact and gain attention again come December (most times), but that's my take on our second half slump which is almost always the most evident in November.
5) Our bye week couldn't come at a better time (actually it could have ... last week ... but what ya gonna do)!
6) I think we'll rally. Nicks looked much better; Bradshaw should be fiery after the prolonged rest; our coaching staff will have a lot of tape to revise Xs and Os; and so on.
7) I'm starting to see why Dallas let go of Martelus Bennett ... he shows a lot of upside, but at best, he's been mediocre. He's only marginally outperformed performed Jake Ballard from last year (thus far), and that by itself is very telling. I'd really like to see him pick up his game but I'm not sure his mentality is a good match for our offense (a lot of snap option reads).
8) I'd be highly surprised if Bradshaw is on the team next year. While he's been awesome value for us, he just seems to be winding down in front of our eyes. Worse, his attitude is going the way of Brandon Jacobs.
9) If we're going to throw that bubble screen, you'd think Cruz would be a better target for it, considering he's shiftier and has, you know ... two good knees.
10) Finally, I have to capitulate to the haters ... while I've always loved David Diehl, his day is done.