Instead of a breakthrough, the Bengals got another AFC North beat-down.
A 24-17 loss to the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night dropped Cincinnati (3-4) into third place in the division. The Bengals wanted to show they were ready to compete for the division title, but instead fell to 0-6 against Pittsburgh and Baltimore the last two seasons. Instead, they take a three-game losing streak into bye week.
"I thought we were very, very good at stinking up October and we need to do a cleanse," Coach Marvin Lewis said Monday. "And the best thing going forward is to be better in November and December."
Their biggest ailment is their inability to beat the Steelers and Ravens. They had two prime-time chances this season, but lost to Baltimore 44-13 in the opener and let a 14-3 lead over the injury-depleted Steelers slip away Sunday.
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Their Pro Bowl connection on offense — Andy Dalton throwing to A.J. Green — managed only one completion all game. The defense got flattened by a Steelers team missing its top two running backs and two offensive linemen.
"We were OK in the running game," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "OK is not good enough. We were OK in the pass. Andy played OK. A.J. played OK. OK will get you beat by the Steelers every time."
Around the league
Falcons: Former Kentucky defensive tackle Corey Peters, a starter the last two seasons, returned for limited activity Monday in his first practice this season. Peters, on the reserve injured list with a stress fracture in his left foot, will be eligible to make his season debut Sunday.
Packers: Safety Charles Woodson, 36, has a broken collarbone and will be out approximately six weeks.
Chiefs: Brady Quinn will take over as starting quarterback and Matt Cassel will serve as the backup beginning Sunday.
Panthers: Marty Hurney was fired as general manager Monday, one day after star quarterback Cam Newton expressed his frustration with a 1-5 start. The Panthers have the worst record in the NFC in a season that began with big expectations. Hurney was the GM since 2002.
Lions: Detroit signed cornerback Justin Miller before Monday night's game in Chicago. Miller, an Owensboro High School graduate, hasn't played in the NFL since 2009.
Jaguars: Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew will miss Sunday's game at Green Bay, maybe more, because of a foot injury.
Redskins: Tight end Chris Cooley passed a physical exam and agreed to rejoin the team. Cooley's return comes a day after tight end Fred Davis was lost for the season with an Achilles tendon injurys.Cooley, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, was released in August.
Goodell: Pro Bowl could be dropped
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will consider dropping the Pro Bowl if the level of play doesn't improve.
Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio's Town Hall on Monday night, Goodell said: "If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of high play), I am inclined to not play the Pro Bowl." The league still would select a Pro Bowl team through voting by players, coaches and fans, but "just not play the game."