Tate In Neck Brace For Trip Home; Defense and Mixon Deliver; Finley Wants More From Pass Game

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ryan Finley was pursued all day.

OAKLAND - Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had no medical update after Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Raiders, but he said wide receiver Auden Tate was responsive and talking after being taken off the field on a stretcher with 6:43 left in the game with a neck injury.

He boarded the team plane with a neck brace.

As his teammates rushed around him, Tate was slid into the ambulance after giving two thumps-up. He actually tried to get up after getting hit by safety Curtis Riley on his 20-ard catch over the middle converted a third-and-19 at the Raiders 33. But the medical staff told him to stay down.

"Hopefully it's just mostly precautionary," Taylor said. "It's hard. It's a guy that embodies everything we're trying to do here."

Running back Joe Mixon said that Tate looked OK because he was talking and moving.

"It gives you a chill. It sucks. But it's part of the game," said safety Jessie Bates III.

- The Bengals tied their worst start in history at 0-10 and Taylor was definitely frustrated losing a game the defense pitched a season low in points and forced multiple turnovers for the first time since the opener.

"When you give up 17 points, you have to win the game," Taylor said.

They didn't win because the passing game was ghastly. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley was just 13 of 31 for 115 yards and an ugly 39 passer rating that led to three of 13 on third down. They had 73 yards passing. Only five times in this century have they had fewer and not since a game they weren't trying to win on Jan. 3,, 2010 in the '09 regular-season finale, the week before the Wild Card Game when they had none against the Jets.

"We left a lot of monster plays on the field. Especially screens. Every player can ask what they could have done better," Taylor said. "What's frustrating is we haven't found a way to win these close games."

- Bates did what no one has virtually done this season. He picked off Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on third down, snapping his season-sized streak of not throwing a pick on third down. Third-and-four. It was huge. It came on the Raiders' first series of the second half at the Oakland 45 and the Bengals down just 14-7. It set up their only score of the half, Randy Bullock's 40-yard field goal.

Bates got his second pick in as many games when he stepped in front of wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.

"We were in double double. Hunter Renfrow is known to run option routes and Darqueze (Dennard) did a good job staying outside," Bates said. "He ran an option route inside and I kind of baited him into throwing it. I'd seen it all week. It just played out well."

_This is how good that Bengals defense played. The Raiders had allowed 12 sacks all year and the Bengals got three. Oakland had turned it over just eight times and the Bengals got them twice.

"Practices this week all we talked about was trying to get turnovers, because we haven't won a game this year because we haven't won the turnover margin in any of our games this year," said end Sam Hubbard. "So we feel like if we can do that it will give us a chance to win. All week we were punching at the ball, getting picks. First drive, first turnover, Josh Tupou comes and punches the ball out. So it's just a testament to who we are."

- Mixon, who grew up an hour from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, had a pretty nice homecoming. On his way to 86 yards on 15 carries, he scored the Bengals' only touchdown (and the Bengals' first rushing TD by a back this season) on a marvelous reverse-the-field three-yard run. But he made a beeline straight for his mother to give her the ball.

"I told her I loved her, but she already knew that," Mixon said.

- Finley had a fourth-and-four from the Raiders 27 with about five minutes left. He took a shot deep down the right sideline to rookie wide receiver Damion Willis, elevated by Tate's injury. Willis high-pointed the ball in double coverage, but didn't win the tip.

"Had a good play call. Love that matchup," Finley said. "Just have to give him a catchable ball. Those plays are bang-bang. Would love to have left it about a foot outside. Give him an easier catch. Bang-bang. Those are play we have to make if we're going to win these games."

Here is how Taylor saw it: "It gave somebody the opportunity to go make a play and it didn't come down with it. But he's got a lot of options on that play." 

_At the end of the third quarter, Mixon had 79 yards rushing and Finley 79 passing.

"We're running the ball really well," Finley said. "When you run the ball well it opens up lot of things. We ran the ball well. I have to be a lot better to make us more balanced."

_The Bengals have been 0-10 only once before this. 1993 in a 3-13 season.

"That's not something we can worry about, it really isn't. We just have to focus on finding that first win and breaking this dam," Taylor said. "It's been frustrating for all of us. This is our tenth loss today, and I saw no quit from one coach, one player, we are on the road in a tough environment, and in the fourth quarter we all believed that we were going to win this game. We just didn't get it done. I think that says something about the character."

Check out the game action photos from the Bengals' Week 11 game against the Oakland Raiders.

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