CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals showed up with a hangover from their season-crushing loss on Monday night and gave one of their worst performances during coach Marvin Lewis’ 15 seasons.
In a sense, the Steelers got ‘em again.
With a defense gutted from their loss to Pittsburgh, the Bengals gave a sloppy and lackluster performance all-around Sunday, getting drubbed by the Chicago Bears 33-7 at Paul Brown Stadium. It was their worst home loss since 2008.
In the second half, they looked like a team going through the motions.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy,” said Andy Dalton, who threw for one touchdown and one interception. “I don’t think anybody expected this to happen.”
The Bengals (5-8) knew they had to beat the rival Steelers to have a chance to make the playoffs. They blew a 17-point lead — just their latest meltdown against their Ohio River rival — and came away with the defense gutted by injury. Starting cornerbacks Adam “Pacman” Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick were sidelined, along with linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil.
The defense allowed the NFL’s worst offense to have its best day. The Bears (4-9) ended a five-game losing streak and piled up a season-high 482 yards. Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had his best day yet, completing a career-high 25 passes for 271 yards. The Bears rushed for 232 yards.
Cincinnati’s defense couldn’t stop anything.
“Some new people, some moving parts, and you know, it was not very good,” Lewis said.
The Bears (4-9) came away with their most lopsided victory in five years. The Bengals were left starting at a dismal closing stretch of games, followed by a decision on Lewis, who is in the final year of his contract. Lewis is 0-7 in the postseason, worst in NFL history, and the Bengals won only six games last season.
“I’m at a loss for words today,” Lewis said.
Players described themselves and stunned and embarrassed by how poorly they played. Dalton said he’d never lost a game like it in high school or college.
“It wasn’t good,” said Dalton, who threw his first interception since Oct. 22 during a loss in Pittsburgh. “It’s disappointing that that’s what we put out there today.”
Only 52,002 fans showed up at Paul Brown Stadium, which seats 65,000. The Bengals have had more than 10,000 empty seats for most of their home games, which works against Lewis staying beyond this season. The overriding question in Cincinnati now is how well the team will represent itself in the final three games.
“Definitely embarrassing,” receiver A.J. Green said. “Anytime you lose 33-7, no matter how good the other team played, it’s embarrassing. We have three more weeks left, and we have to continue fighting.”
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