CINCINNATI (AP) — All of the Bengals' talent couldn't get them even one touchdown.
And it captured their attention.
A 17-6 loss in Cleveland on Sunday left the Bengals totally surprised and even a bit embarrassed. They felt very good about their offense heading into the game, but couldn't even get into the end zone once.
Surprising? More like shocking.
"I still feel like we have a great offensive group in my room," coordinator Jay Gruden said on Monday. "They're talented. Our offensive line is solid. Our receiving corps is excellent. We have great tight ends. We have backs to choose from, and our quarterback is a solid quarterback in the NFL.
"So for us to score six points anywhere against anybody is shocking, quite honestly. And it's something we have to fight out of."
The Bengals (2-2) wasted a chance to take control of the AFC North, a division they want to win for a change. They've made the playoffs each of the last two seasons as a wild card, but believed they were ready to move ahead of Super Bowl-champion Baltimore and Pittsburgh this year and claim the title.
They beat the Steelers 20-10 in the second week of the season, but came apart in Cleveland against the Browns (2-2), who prevented the Bengals' offense from doing anything consistently.
It was the first time Cincinnati's offense failed to score a touchdown since a 19-13 loss at Houston in the first round of the playoffs last season. Leon Hall returned an interception for Cincinnati's only touchdown in that one.
After adding rookie running back Giovani Bernard and tight end Tyler Eifert to help the passing game, the Bengals thought they had enough options to score points on anyone. The loss in Cleveland was an eye-opener.
"When you don't score a touchdown in a game in the NFL, you're going to be hard-pressed to win," coach Marvin Lewis said on Monday. "Basically third down was our demise."
The Bengals were only 4 of 14 on third down. Their biggest failing came on a fourth-and-1 play at the Cleveland 7-yard line in the second quarter, when Lewis decided to go for it trailing 7-3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was dropped for a loss of 2 yards as the Browns swarmed into the backfield.