Quick hits: Missed opportunities

» The theme in the postgame locker room was missed opportunities. With Baltimore losing to Tennessee earlier in the day, the Bengals had a chance to be a game up on everybody else in the AFC North.

The Bengals also failed to convert a third down until the last drive of the game and in the first half they missed three 3rd-and-1 chances.

"It's not discouraging," right tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "It just makes you mad knowing that you can win the game if all you do is convert those 3rd-and-1s."

The Bengals tried running plays with running back Cedric Benson twice in the first half, and Whitworth said, "They gave us a different look and we just didn't execute it. We had some miscommunication, and that just summed up the first half."

"They were intent on us not running, which is what I think led to big plays in the passing game," Benson said. "I don't know why weren't able to capitalize. Maybe they wanted it more than we did. They stacked it up really well and they had three guys on the edge."

Benson thinks the Bengals will be better prepared the next time around.

"It's well needed for this team," he said.

» The Bengals also didn't take advantage of playing a Denver team that by the middle of the first half was playing without its top three receivers and top running back as well as 10-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey.

"We should have capitalized on beating these guys," defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "We just made too many mistakes across the board. That's what Coach Lewis told us when we came in here: too many mistakes all across the board."

» The Bengals also gave up big plays in the passing game. The killer was Denver quarterback Kyle Orton's 52-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Decker with 13:30 left in the game that gave Denver a 24-15 lead.

"I overran the play and I probably knocked (cornerback Nate) Clements off the play," safety Chris Crocker said. "It's the kind of play you can't give up. We had an opportunity here and we didn't take advantage."

» The Bengals front seven has been priding themselves on stopping the run and for the first time this year they didn't respond in the running game. The Bengals gave the Broncos just 3.6 yards per carry but they allowed Denver to run it 36 times.

"I set myself up to make five or six plays, and I didn't execute," linebacker Rey Maualuga said. "It's discipline. I had five or six plays and they just slipped through my hands. It's frustrating. I'm the (middle) linebacker and I have to take responsibility."

» Another postgame theme was the emergence of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and rookie receiver A.J. Green. Dalton had his first 300-yard day and Green had his first 100-yard game. Green finished with 10 catches for 124 yards and Dalton was 27-of-41 passing for 332 yards.

"Those boys have a good future; they needed that," Benson said.

"We knew that those guys can do that," Whitworth said. "Andy was great in the huddle in the fourth quarter."

» The fear is the worst for wide receiver Jordan Shipley because after the game hw was in a brace and on crutches. Shipley was hit in the knee after making a five-yard reception.

» Dalton on his performance:
"It doesn't matter how I played. I took a sack in the two-minute drill, and you can't do that. I've got to play better, and we've got to convert on third down. (The Broncos defensive end) made a great play (on the 4th and 1 play in the fourth quarter). He was right on me when I turned my head, and I had to get it out. We made some plays but we didn't make enough."

» Head coach Marvin Lewis said he didn't go for the field goal on that 4th-and-1 play because he said he thought it was the best play for his team at that point in the game. The Bengals trailed 24-22 with 3:04 remaining and faced a 4th-and-1 from the Denver 36-yard line.

» Wide receiver A.J. Green on the game:
"We need to become a 60-minute team. We came out flat in the first two quarters. And the other thing that hurt us is that we couldn't convert on third and short."

» Green on his TD:
"I was just trying to do what I could to get my foot down as quickly as I could."

» It was the earliest a Bengals rookie receiver had a 100-yard receiving game since Eddie Brown had 106 yards against St. Louis in the second game of the 1985 season.

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