Andy Dalton up, secondary and O-line down in Bengals loss


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A look at Cincinnati Bengals players who were "up" and those who were "down" in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:


Andy Dalton: Yes, night games have been the bane of the Bengals quarterback's existence throughout his career, but he -- like he's been doing in recent prime-time games -- shook free of the old narrative about his play at night. Going 22-for-39 with 315 yards and two touchdowns, Dalton performed about as well as he could have, given the circumstances. He was playing behind a porous offensive line; one that gave up four sacks. His decision-making also was sound all evening as he routinely made the right pre-snap changes to get plays to open up, whether they were screen passes or deep throws downfield. Even his decision to throw to A.J. Green in the end zone on a last-minute third-and-2 was the right one. He had a favorable matchup and tried to exploit it.

Jeremy Hill: No, Hill's overall production wasn't all that good, as his 45 yards on 13 carries will attest. But he did at key times showcase some of the wiggle and power that has made him such a valued piece of the Bengals' offense in the past year. It was primarily on his two rushing touchdowns (two yards and one yard) Hill trended back onto the positive side of the ledger. Those two scores ended up giving his fantasy owners 16 points under ESPN's standard scoring system. It's been five weeks since he's even had a double-digit scoring output.

Tyler Eifert: Just after dropping away the Bengals' hopes in a Monday night loss to Houston, Eifert trended back positively Sunday night. He only caught three passes, but he made them count. Two of the receptions resulted in touchdowns, including a 10-yard snag that gave Cincinnati life in the fourth quarter.


Bengals' secondary: It's hard to consider the Bengals' secondary as "down" since two of its key backup pieces suffered mid-game injuries, and a starter missed the game due to his own aches. Still, the players themselves believe they missed out on executing in the clutch, particularly on the final drive of the game when the defense gave up three straight long passes to open the series. Safety George Iloka reiterated that he has long vouched for the depth in the Bengals' secondary. That depth just didn't show up even after Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard and Shawn Williams all fought through respective injuries.

Bengals' offensive line: As mentioned above, Dalton was on the ground four times Sunday. With the Cardinals regularly assaulting the Bengals with extra pressure, the offensive line struggled to keep Dalton both upright and free to sit in the pocket for long. Running back Giovani Bernard also missed a block on one sack.