49ers vs. Bengals Game Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly



The San Francisco 49ers were playing pretty well against the Cincinnati Bengals until the Bengals jumped out to an early three touchdown lead — basically taking the 49ers out of the game as they scored 21 unanswered points.

Scoring drives that only took a total of four minutes and 23 seconds, it was the 49ers who took themselves out of the game. Whether dropping catchable balls or shanking an 18-yard punt, the 49ers clearly made life easy for the Bengals offense as field-position played a key role in the outcome.

However, it wasn’t all bad as there were some positives from yesterday’s game. Below are my top three takeaways from each category, as I breakdown, 3 good, 3 bad, and 3 downright ugly things from yesterday’s Bengals game.

The Good

  • DB Jimmie Ward: The second-year player looks to be finally coming into his own as he made some nice plays on third downs — killing the Bengals drive. On 3rd and 8 @ SF 46, Ward played tight man-coverage on WR A.J. Green in the slot to break up the pass intended for the All-Pro wide-receiver.

Then on 3rd & 12 @ CIN 25, Ward hit the shot out of the cannon on a c-gap blitz — bringing QB A.J. McCarron down for the 9-yard sack. Ward played one of his best games and finished with five tackles (3 tackles for loss), 1.0 sack, and 1 pass break-up

  • NT Ian Williams: The soon to be UFA, NT Ian Williams continues to shine as he has a knack for being around the football of late. Against the Bengals, Williams again proved why he is one of the best nose-guards in the game — as he consistently collapsed the pocket finishing with a stat line with six tackles, 1.0 sack, and 1 fumble recovery.

  • ILB NaVorro Bowman: The Bow factor was big in yesterday’s game, as he displayed the sideline-to-sideline motor that has made him one of the best linebackers in the game. Whether it was bringing down running backs coming out of the flat or shooting the A and B gaps stuffing the run, Bow did it all — flying around the football en route to leading the team in tackles with a game-high 12 (one tackle for loss).

The Bad

  • RT Erik Pears: This guy is horrible. Nothing new here. It’s like watching a movie over and over again. You already know what the end result is going to be. With that being said, Pears once again did nothing to impress but kill drives, as he finished the game with a team-high three holding penalties while allowing 1.0 sack.
Getty Images

Getty Images

  • TE Vance McDonald: McDonald’s two costly drops is what allowed the Bengals to take the lead. Plays in which McDonald was seen playing hot potato, it was his inability to secure the ball which then opened the door for CB Adam Jones and ILB Vontaze Burfict to record their respective INTs. McDonald finished with one catch for 10 yards.
  • Dropped Balls: You can’t put all the blame on QB Blaine Gabbert as I accounted for the team dropping five catchable balls. TE Vance McDonald (2), WR Anquan Boldin (1), WR Quinton Patton (1), and RB Kendall Gaskins (1).

The Ugly

  • OLB Corey Lemonier: On 1st and 10 @ CIN 21, Lemonier gave a late-hit on Bengals RB Giovanni Bernard coming out of the flat after a minimal gain. 49ers’ ILB Gerald Hodges and ILB NaVorro Bowman immediately reprimanded Lemonier but not after a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. A bone-head play by Lemonier who has now recorded 15-yard penalties in back-to-back weeks.


  • Special-Teams: Whether it was 49ers’ rookie P Bradley Pinion shanking an 18-yard punt or getting a 41-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap, the 49ers special-teams were downright awful in yesterday’s game.

  • Penalties: The 49ers had 11 penalties in yesterday’s game giving up a total of 100 yards of field position. Simply ugly. Below is the breakdown:

Offensive Holding (5): RT Erik Pears (3), G/C Marcus Martin (1), and LB Ray-Ray Armstrong (1).

False Starts (2): WR Quinton Patton (1) and WR Torrey Smith (1)

Defensive Holding (1): ILB NaVorro Bowman (1)

Neutral zone-infraction (1): NT Ian Williams (1)

Unnecessary Roughness: RB Shaun Draughn (1) and OLB Corey Lemonier (1)

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.