For just the second time in quarterback Andy Dalton's 131 starts the Bengals turned over the ball five times in Sunday's 34-13 loss to the Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium. The only time before that came in the 2017 opener, a 20-0 loss to the Ravens in which he threw four interceptions and that's what happened to the top-ranked New England defense.
All of the interceptions came in the second half, three in the third quarter, marking Dalton's fourth 4-pick game of his career and his first since last season in Carolina. It will be recalled in that game that Dalton wasn't to blame for any of those interceptions in Charlotte and head coach Zac Taylor went to bat for him in this one and said he thought his receivers were bullied. Certainly on the last two when Pats cornerback J.C. Jackson went up and got long balls over the jump of wide receiver Alex Erickson and in front of wide receiver John Ross still running his go route. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore also won his one-on-ones on his two picks, won a 64-yard touchdown return.
"Three of them were against man-to-man coverage, One-on-ones," Taylor said. "We got bullied. We did. Guys can go compete and knock the ball down. Go get a one-on-one. Their guys went and competed. It was a tough secondary. They play tight man coverage.
"The way it happened out quarterback is going to take all the blame for it when in reality … he's taking one-on-one …. And (trying) to go make plays … You count on (receivers) to get separation and they got the better of us."
With Stephon Gilmore, the NFL's best corner following his leading receiver, Tyler Boyd, Boyd didn't have a target in the first half and finished with just three catches for 26 yards. He saluted Gilmore, but said he wasn't bullied.
"I won more of my one-on-ones," Boyd said. "(The first one) I had a curl and he was sitting on it. He sat under it."
(On the pick-six:) "He had the outside leverage on an out route to the field. Man coverage. You think it's going to be a pick?"
- How was Bengals running back Joe Mixon in his second straight 100-yard game and eighth of his career? He was so good on his 136 yards on a season-high 25 carries that even The Goat noticed.
"I was surprised," Mixon said of the brief post-game meeting. "He was like, 'Great player, hell of a runner.' I was like, 'Dang, that's Tom Brady that said that.' I appreciate it. I was like, 'Good job, keep being you, keep being great.'
According to Elias, off last week's career-high in Cleveland with 146, Mixon became the first Bengals back since Jeremy Hill five years ago to rush for more than 135 yards in two straight games. That puts him 75 yards away from a 1,000-yard season.
- The only time he didn't get what he needed came with the Bengals leading 10-7 with 7:14 left in the second quarter and facing a fourth-and-1 from the Pats 30. The Pats stacked it up and they never looked back, but Mixon didn't say it was a turning point.
"Not for real. It didn't turn. We still had the game in our hands," Mixon said. "I put that on myself. I have to make my cut harder, get up in the hole faster or take more time to root it out. I put that up on me."
- Here's the play that did turn it. Bengals punt returner Alex Erickson's fumbled punt on the Bengals 23 with 1:30 left in a 10-10 first half. The Bengals thought Matthew Slater interfered with Erickson making the catch, which the tape shows. But there was no review because the ref told Taylor Slater had been pushed into him. Still, Erickson said he came out of the pile with the ball, but they gave it to the Patriots.
- The Bengals ends did a good job getting to Brady in the first half and for much of the game. Carlos Dunlap and Sam Hubbard each had a sack in the first half and Carl Lawson ended up with three quarterback hits, Dunlap, the 10-year veteran got his 79th career sack and his first of Brady. He made sure he said something to The Goat after it was over. It ended up making him laugh.
"I told him I could now add him to my resume," Dunlap said.
Hubbard, who was four when the 42-year-old Brady broke into the league, called his sack, "A bucket-list moment."