Bengals give up 500 yards again, get crushed by Saints 51-14

Bengals give up 500 yards again, get crushed by Saints 51-14

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:06 p.m. ET

CINCINNATI (AP) — Broken coverage by broken coverage, missed tackle by missed tackle, yard by yard, the Bengals made history for horrific defense. Cincinnati keeps giving up big numbers, and now the losses are mounting, too.

Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints scored on every possession except the last one — when they took a knee — during a 51-14 victory on Sunday that left Cincinnati in disarray.

The Bengals (5-4) have given up 500 yards in three straight games — a first in the Super Bowl era — and are on pace to give up an NFL record for yards in a season. Of all the bad showings on defense, this was the worst.

The Saints (8-1) moved the ball even when they were trying to run out the clock. What little was left of the crowd of 52,492 booed loudly when it ended with New Orleans taking a knee three consecutive plays — technically, Cincinnati's only defensive stop of the day.


"I haven't seen anything like it," linebacker Preston Brown said. "Every week we're giving up too many yards."

The Bengals knew they'd be in for some growing pains when they decided to field the youngest team in coach Marvin Lewis' 16 seasons, with most of the inexperience on defense. They also brought in coordinator Teryl Austin, who changed some of their schemes.

It's not working, and the Bengals seem to have run out of ideas for what to do next.

"Obviously, your confidence gets shaken," Lewis said. "I just addressed that with them. They have to focus and get determined. It's their job to do it right."

Shaken, and deeply disturbed.

"I'm kind of in shock after a loss like that," linebacker Jordan Evans said.

In the last four games, the Bengals have given up 481, 551, 576 and 509 yards. They're allowing an average of 454 yards per game, worst in the league.

They're on pace to allow 7,272 yards, which would be an NFL record. The 2012 Saints are the only team to give up 7,000 in a season, 7,042 in 2012.

The Bengals opened the season 4-1 despite giving up a lot of yards. Four defensive touchdowns played major roles in the fast start, and the offense managed to keep up and pull out two wins at the end. With A.J. Green out indefinitely because of a toe injury, the offense is limited.

"We always want to score, but at the end of the day, our defense has got to get some stops," receiver Tyler Boyd said. "You can't let the other team score on every drive."

That's what the Saints did.

Brees led the Saints to touchdowns on all five first-half possessions with a nearly perfect performance — only two incompletions. His 17-yard TD to Michael Thomas with 2 seconds left in the half gave him 509 career touchdown passes, one more than Brett Favre for second on the career list. Peyton Manning holds the record with 539.

Brees had his way with the Bengals' historically bad defense , even diving over the pile to score a 1-yard touchdown.

The Bengals matched the most lopsided defeat in franchise history and gave up the second-most points in club history. In the first half alone, the Saints piled up 311 yards and had 21 first downs on 40 plays. The 28 points allowed in the second quarter matched the club record.

Even more shocking: Cincinnati was coming out of a bye and had two weeks to prepare for the Saints. The Bengals thought they'd get some of their issues resolved.

"It didn't look like it," Brown said. "We gave up 500 yards."