JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) – As offensively inept as the Cincinnati Bengals were to start the season, they were even worse Sunday at Jacksonville.
The Bengals finished with a season-low 148 yards in a 23-7 loss that showed – again – just how dominant the Jaguars (5-3) can be.
The game will be remembered more for a fight between receiver A.J. Green and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. But Cincinnati’s offense was the one that really got whipped.
It was the team’s worst output since a 27-0 drubbing at Indianapolis in 2014 in which Cincy managed 135 yards. The Bengals (3-5) might not have reached the end zone in this one had it not been for a 59-yard pass play from Andy Dalton to Tyler Kroft during which two defenders collided while missing the tackle. Rookie Joe Mixon scored two plays later.
Jacksonville dominated from there, controlling the ball for more than 40 minutes in a chippy game that could have been much more lopsided.
“When we’re playing like this, what can you really do with us?” Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said. “Where you going to go with the ball? Where are you going to run the ball? We keep trying to tell y’all: There isn’t no secondary out there that’s better than us. We’re trying to show y’all. Eventually everybody will catch on.”
Mixon finished with 31 yards rushing on 13 carries. Dalton threw for 136 yards and was sacked twice.
“Obviously we’re not executing at the level that we want to,” Dalton said. “We need to play better, and it starts with the mentality of knowing that you’re going to play better, and telling yourself, and trusting the guy next to you.”
Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards and a touchdown in another efficient day. Marqise Lee had his first TD reception of the season. And Jaydon Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a score that put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Green and Ramsey were the main topic afterward.
The perennial Pro Bowler retaliated against the trash-talking Ramsey in a violent way. After Ramsey pushed Green to the ground at the end of a running play, Green grabbed Ramsey around the neck and slammed him to the ground. Green then delivered numerous punches to Ramsey’s helmet – never the smartest idea – and put another MMA-style choke hold on Ramsey. It was the kind of aggressive attack that could lead to league discipline, maybe even a suspension.
Green and Ramsey were ejected.
“I should have walked off in that situation,” Green said. “It’s never going to happen again. I regret my actions. Whatever my punishments are I accept them because I put myself in that situation. … I’ve got to control my emotions better. I’ve got to handle my stuff better. I can’t put myself in a situation like that, hurt my team and not be able to play.”
Ramsey was not in the locker room after the game.
The Jaguars preferred to talk about their latest defensive gem, one that followed two 10-sack performances (Houston, Indianapolis) and a five-turnover outing (Pittsburgh).
“When we’re all working together like that, like we’ve been the past couple of weeks, it’s a scary sight,” linebacker Myles Jack said. “I can feel it on the field. It’s fun.”
Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette was inactive for violating a team rule. Jacksonville made the surprise announcement 90 minutes before kickoff. It’s unclear what Fournette did to draw coach Doug Marrone’s punishment.
Bengals: Starting right tackle Jake Fisher was taken to a local hospital with an undisclosed illness. … Nose tackle Pat Sims left in the first quarter with a right calf injury and did not return. … Running back Jeremy Hill, who started the first seven games, was scratched because of an ankle injury. Hill was not on the injury report all week.
Jaguars: Left tackle Cam Robinson reinjured his left ankle, but returned to the game. … Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. injured his right elbow but returned.
The Jaguars welcomed back nearly 60 former players for their annual homecoming game. In conjunction with the reunion, the Jaguars wore teal jersey and black pants for the first time since December 2006.
Bengals: Wrap up a three-game stretch against the AFC South by playing Tennessee. It’s the second of three consecutive road games, a stretch that could determine whether or not Cincinnati is a playoff contender down the stretch.
Jaguars: Host the Los Angeles Chargers, which have won six in a row in the series. Jacksonville’s last victory against the Chargers came in 2007, the last time the Jags made the playoffs.