WEMBLEY, England - The Bengals offense had their biggest output since Opening Day with 401 yards and their much-maligned run defense held the Rams under 100 yards at less than four yards per carry. But Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Rams at Wembley Stadium was simple.
The Rams made the big play and the Bengals didn't and they never recovered from the day's biggest that was uncorked in an entertaining first half.
The Bengals had just tied it at 10 with 5:18 left in the first half. But not even 90 seconds later Rams head coach Sean McVay called a double reverse flea flicker, a play that Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had never seen them use in the previous two years he was with McVay.
The play began when quarterback Jared Goff flipped it to wide receiver Cooper Kupp and it ended up in the same place. Kupp's hands from Goff about 20 yards down field. When cornerback B.W. Webb fell down, Kupp was gone for a 65-yarder that put the Rams ahead for good.
"I went to plant my feet and they just went out from under me," Webb said. "I've seen that play, but not from them."
- Kupp killed the Bengals with seven catches for 220 yards, tied for third most against the Bengals. He had 165 at the half and no one seemed to be around him in a zone. Goff, who didn't come close to getting sacked, had plenty of time to rack up 372 yards on just 17 completions for nearly 22 yards per catch. The middle of the field belonged to him.
"We just didn't match up in the zones," said safety Shawn Williams. "Goff made the right decisions. We knew most of his throws were between the numbers. We had a lot of different coverages to throw him off. We just didn't fit up the routes well. They were a step ahead of us."
- If the flea flicker wasn't the big play, then Kupp's catch on third-and-10 on the first series of the second half absolutely was. Goff had oodles and oodles of time and was able to fling a long one down the middle, just over the leaping Williams and in front of cornerback Tony McRae for a killing 40-yarder.
"That's on me," Williams said. "The guy you're doubling is never supposed to catch the ball between two defenders. That's on me. Not Tony."
- Tight end Tyler Eifert had a season-high six catches for 74 yards and liked the liberal use of double tight end sets early in the game. The Bengals came in using one tight end on 85 percent of the plays, but they went with more double tights than usual to fend off the Rams in the run game against a Bengals offense ranked last running the ball. They also used six linemen at times with rookie Michael Jordan the extra guy.
"That was part of the plan. We wanted to see how they matched up to it. We were able to get some good runs and passes early," Eifert said. "Any time we get the run game going, everything is just easier. It didn't feel like every pass was a struggle."
That's another reason Kupp's 40-yarder was such a killer. That set up the TD that made it 24-10 and the Rams were able to gamble in the run. After Mixon got 53 yards on his 10 carries, he finished 13 yards on his last seven. They did manage their second 100-yard day of the season with 104 on their best yards per at 4.7. No doubt the different tight end looks will be examined this bye week.
View photos from London as the Bengals square off against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8.
- Quarterback Andy Dalton liked Taylor's aggressiveness. They went for it on fourth down six times, not failing until the last two.
"We made some big plays on third and fourth downs to keep drives going. That was good to see," Dalton said.
But he knew the problem. Four more red zone trips. Just one TD. Two no scores. That's eight TDs in 24 trips.
"We moved the ball well, we weren't able to put the points on the board. Have to score touchdowns."
- Dalton definitely wanted at least one throw back in the second half. Wide receiver Auden Tate was wide open on a double move down the left sideline and he threw it out of the field of play. Could have been six.
"I felt like I had to get it out of my hands. I wish I could have that one back," Dalton said.
- Dalton was miffed there was no flag on Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald after Donald piled-drived him to the Wembley turf for one of L.A.'s five sacks.
"I thought that was a rule," Dalton said. "I guess I was wrong."
- Right guard Alex Redmond left the stadium in a walking boot after leaving late in the game replaced by Jordan..
- The Rams love Taylor. It was a love fest before and after the game. Even after he walked out of his post-game presser he was greeted by the Rams mascot and had a conversation while the guy held his costume head in hand.