Brandon LaFell found the end zone twice Sunday.
DALLAS - After his first two Bengals touchdowns Sunday came in the fourth quarter of Sunday's surprising manhandling by the Cowboys, wide receiver Brandon LaFell admitted he didn't think his new team would ever be 2-3.
"I'm very surprised because with the weapons we have on this team and the offense we run, I know we can be way better. We just have to be more consistent," said LaFell after the 28-14 loss.
Consistency has been missing in all phases, but never more than on offense. They have their fewest points (87), fewest rushing yards (419), and have allowed their most sacks (17) in any of the five games that started the six seasons of the Green-Dalton era.
"Consistency. Us playing consistent, whether it's offense, defense or special teams," LaFell said. "We need to be more consistent and play at a high level every snap, every series, every quarter. We just need to be more consistent. That's what separates the good teams and the average teams"
LaFell should know. He played the previous two seasons with the very New England team that recoils in wait for the Bengals next week in Foxboro and saw "Very good," up close and personal.
It will be recalled that the last time the Bengals played the Patriots it was two years ago this week and LaFell's Patriots were coming off a Monday night loss in Kansas City so bad that the fans wanted Tom Brady traded and head coach Bill Belichick didn't answer any questions about it with the now infamous "We're moving on to Cincinnati." They moved on so well they crushed the Bengals, 43-17, and went on to win the Super Bowl.
"We are definitely moving onto New England, especially when you lose like this,' LaFell said. "We definitely can't come out next week and play flat like this with a high power offense like those guys have with Tom Brady back. We've got to come out and score points. We've got to play within the game, we can't get down 21 points. You can't win in this league playing like that."
It's not because of LaFell, who has quietly been exactly what the Bengals needed opposite A.J. Green with the departure of Marvin Jones. With Green swamped in a Cover Two deep zone, LaFell led the Bengals Sunday with eight catches for 68 yards and those two touchdowns.
Don't look now, but LaFell has 21 catches for 276 yards and two TDs for an average of 13.1 yards per catch. That puts him on pace for 883 yards on 67 catches and six TDs, Last year Jones had 816 yards on 65 catches for a 12.6 average.
"He's doing everything we ask him to do and he showed it today," said quarterback Andy Dalton. " When we can spread the ball to a bunch of different guys that's big and he's de finitely a big part of it."
The only thing he hadn't done before Sunday was score a touchdown in the red zone despite being targeted five times. Against the Cowboys he took care of that in the fourth quarter when he grabbed TD passes of seven and five yards, the last a nice handsy grab with 2:39 left in the game.
"We just connected today," LaFell said.. "That was one of the things we said we need to improve on was our red zone offense and we improved on it, but we didn't improve on everything else in our game."
LaFell only has to go back to 2014 to see how a good team bailed itself out in the bad times.
"We need to stay together. No pointing no fingers," LaFell said. "We need to stick together, believe in each other, lean on each other and don't listen to the noise outside of the locker room. Find a way to win within this locker room and just know whoever is going to help you win is going to be the guys that's in this locker room with you."
Cincinnati Bengals travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys in week 5 of the regular season.