But all the yardage the Bengals amassed were in vain as the Seahawks held on for a 21-20 victory in the season opener. In Zac Taylor’s head coaching debut, Cincinnati squandered a strong defensive showing under new coordinator Lou Anarumo.
The game in two words: Missed opportunities. Cincinnati racked up 429 yards of total offense and made four trips inside Seattle’s 40-yard line in the second half. However, the Bengals couldn’t capitalize and totaled only three points from those possessions.
Pivotal play: Quarterback Russell Wilson and the rest of Seattle’s offense was held in check for most of the day. But Wilson came up with a huge play that sparked the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. On third-and-5 at the Seattle 41, Wilson avoided a sack and lofted a ball between two defenders to DK Metcalf for a 25-yard reception. A couple of plays later, Wilson found a wide-open Tyler Lockett for a 44-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
QB breakdown: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 35-of-51 passing for a career-high 418 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. With starting left tackle Cordy Glenn out with a concussion and the offensive line a question mark, the Bengals used a quick passing attack that was effective early. But Dalton lost two fumbles. One was a wet ball that slipped out of his hands during a pass attempt and the other occurred as he was scrambling to make a play in the closing seconds, sealing the game for the Seahawks.
Silver lining: A homecoming for Cincinnati wide receiver John Ross could be the catalyst for a big season. The third-year player out of Washington had his best NFL performance. He had a career-high in catches (seven) and receiving yards (158) and caught touchdown passes for 33 and 55 yards. Ross caught only 21 passes in 2018 and wanted to be more productive in 2019. While he had a couple of drops, the performance could give Ross the confidence boost he needs to have a breakout season.