CINCINNATI (AP) — The whole student-vs.-master thing didn’t go so well in England. Zac Taylor remains winless with the Bengals, beaten this time by the head coach whose success he’s trying to emulate.
And now, the Bengals are heading into historically bad territory. Another loss or two will put them in rare territory, ranking among the franchise’s worst ever.
A 24-10 loss to the Rams at Wembley Stadium left Cincinnati 0-8 for the first time in 11 years, a reference point that doesn’t begin to capture their depths. They’ve lost their first eight games for the fifth time since 1990 and the sixth time overall in franchise history.
Cincinnati’s worst start was 0-10 under Dave Shula in 1993. Longest losing streak during one season? Ten straight, accomplished in 1993 and again in 2010 under Marvin Lewis. They dropped nine straight during the 1998 season under Bruce Coslet.
Oh, but there’s more.
The Bengals have lost 10 in a row over the past two seasons, one shy of the club record for that category. Shula’s 0-10 start in 1993 gave them 11 straight losses combined with the previous season.
“I mean, I’ve obviously never been in a situation like this before,” quarterback Andy Dalton said on Sunday.
At this point, it’s a matter of deciding what’s going less horribly. The offense rediscovered the tight ends in London, which allowed it to string together numerous drives for the first time in weeks. The Bengals had been using tight ends to help block in the pass and run games but turned them loose against the Rams, Taylor’s former team. Tyler Eifert had a season-high six catches for 74 yards.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Bengals have a fourth straight season without a winning record. Their core players are in their 30s and the roster needs a massive overhaul. There’s way more than can be fixed with one coaching change or one draft.
Joe Mixon. Relegated to an afterthought because of the offensive line’s inability to open holes, Mixon showed flashes of what he can do when he gets a little space, running for 66 yards, his second-highest total this season. He also caught a pass for the Bengals’ touchdown.
The horrid start is a reminder that the longstanding issues in Cincinnati — no playoff victory since the 1990 season, only seven postseason appearances since — start well above the coaching level. Fans began wearing bags on their heads at the previous home game.
The Bengals were without starting cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) in London. Left tackle Cordy Glenn missed his eighth game with a concussion and/or suspension. Guard Alex Redmond was carted off with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
2 — The number of continents the losing streak has spanned, the number of months it has covered, and the number of weeks before the Bengals get a chance to either break or extend it. Coming off their bye, they host the first-place Ravens. The Bengals lost in Baltimore 23-17 on Oct. 13, with Lamar Jackson rushing for 152 yards.
With their season a waste, the Bengals could trade veterans who don’t figure in their rebuilding, but that’s not at all likely to happen. Owner Mike Brown leans toward maintaining the status quo. Taylor has said repeatedly that the Bengals have no interest in dealing receiver A.J. Green, who is recovering from ankle surgery and has returned to practice on a limited basis. Green is an unrestricted free agent after the season and the Bengals have talked about an extension, though nothing’s been accomplished.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL