Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is preparing for both Browns quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel in Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) in the wake of the Steelers rolling up 536 yards in this past Sunday's 42-21 victory.
After watching Pittsburgh reel off 222 of them in 9:51 of the fourth quarter, Guenther thought a good plan went bad quickly. It's believed the Bengals have never allowed three 500-yard games in the same season.
"At the end of the third quarter I thought our plan was pretty damn good, (it just) steamrolled on us quickly. That's it. I went home and told my wife, it happened like that (snap of the fingers) boom-boom," Guenther said Monday. "You give up the 94-yard pass, the long run on the short field, there you have it. You're down 21. We have go do a better job finishing games regardless of the circumstance. Period. If we get down seven, if we get down 14, we have to go play and understand the situation"
Guenther didn't think his club responded well after the Bengals fumbled the ball at their own 24 with the 21-20 lead and 12:45 left when they promptly allowed running back Le'Veon Bell's 13-yard touchdown. He pointed to last week's stand in Tampa.
"We played the fourth quarter pretty much at midfield, where we felt like if we gave up a 15-yard pass and they kick a field goal, the game is 16-14. They did good job with that, understanding the situations," Guenther said. "In field-goal range, out of field-goal range. We have to understand if we have a turnover like that, we've got to hold them to three points and get the ball to give our offense an opportunity. We can't give up seven. To me, that where we're lacking a little bit right now. In our losses. You go through the games. In New England they scored on us quick and we kind of got frustrated. Indianapolis, we hold them to 10 in the first half, we were getting three and out a bunch on offense and guys were frustrated. Cleveland the same as Indianapolis. It's a man's game. You have to be able to (man up) up regardless of the situation."
His veteran cornerbacks have been brilliant all year, but he acknowledged they had their worst game of the season Sunday. He says he wants to give Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard, but not because the vets struggled. When Terenence Newman and Adam Jones went down briefly in the first half, the youngsters responded.
"Our corners have been pretty damn good this year for the most part all year. So I don't have a complaint on them," Guenther said. "They didn't play real well yesterday. None of them played really good yesterday. Was it an off day? Maybe. But I don't think they've done anything in their play to merit getting pulled out of there. So it's not so much the young guys' fault. It's the guys in front of them are playing pretty good."
HUBER LEADS: The Bengals lost the battle of field position by five yards and time of possession by 5:30 Sunday, but punter Kevin Huber took over the NFL's net punting lead by half a yard over the Colts' Pat McAfee with a season average of 44.
That was Huber's average Sunday on seven kicks with one inside the 20. Cornerback Adam Jones picked up a 16-yard punt return as he moved up to fourth in the league and he stayed second in kick returns even though he didn't have any after he bobbled two trying to run them out of the end zone. He's right there with Baltimore's Jacoby Jones, just a tenth of a point behind him.