CINCINNATI -- The Bears' 45-10 loss to the Bengals on Sunday challenged the axiom that it is better to give than receive.
The Bengals received to the tune of five touchdown catches. The Bears gave way beyond the point where it hurt.
If giving the Bengals the running back who leads the NFL in rushing and a starting defensive tackle weren't enough, the Bears also spotted their opponent 31 points before they scored a meager field goal at the end of the half.
They gave them almost everything they could, short of George Halas' dusty fedora and a game program from the 1985 Super Bowl.
The Bears gave the Bengals yards -- 448 of them. They gave them the ball -- four turnovers. And they gave them points, more points than they had given any opponent since the 2003 season opener, a span of 100 games.
The one thing they didn't give, judging by their play, was a damn.
"We pride ourselves on playing tough football," defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. "It seemed like it was too easy for Cincinnati today. We started slow and they kept steamrolling us."
The Bears' defense was thoroughly overmatched and the offense was thoroughly incapable of mounting a comeback.
"The Chicago Bears should never lose a football game like that," coach Lovie Smith said. "It was a tough day at the office for us. Nothing went right today. I'm disappointed in our defense. We knew we were playing a good offense, but we should be able to hold them down a lot better than that. We didn't stop the run or fill gaps, and there were missed tackles. They knocked us around. We are better than that. Offensively, it was the same thing."
The highlight shows will say it was all about former Bears Cedric Benson and Tank Johnson. But the Bears know better. Many of Benson's career-high 189 rushing yards were gifts. When the Bears should have been drilling Benson into northern Kentucky, they often were hitting him with the force of a wet kiss.
"We didn't look like we were ready," defensive end Alex Brown said. "We didn't play like we were ready. I didn't play like I was ready. I have to do my job better."
Chad Ochocinco couldn't have done his job much better. The self-promoter also proved to be a decent receiver and not a bad dancer. He caught 10 of the 11 balls thrown his way for 118 yards and two scores, one of which was celebrated with a samba.
"We did a good job finding holes and voids in their pressures," said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who completed 83 percent of his passes and had a career-high 146.7 passer rating. "They play a lot of zone pressures and we did a good job hitting those holes. But when you jump on a team 14-0 in the first quarter, their offense isn't built to play that way. Their offense is a ball-control offense. We controlled the ball and took that advantage away from them."
There was no controlling the ball for the Bears with 35 rushing yards. And quarterback Jay Cutler was of little help, trying to force the Bears back in the game and throwing a trio of interceptions.
"I know we got a lot of pressure on Cutler," said Bengals cornerback Leon Hall, who had two interceptions and four passes defended. "There is always a chance for turnovers in those situations. He had a rough day out here today."
It's not as if anyone can say, well, if only the Bears did this. Or, a few more good plays and it would have been a different game. This was a complete and thorough annihilation.
From the coin toss on, the Bears lost in every way possible. They lost the line of scrimmage. They lost when they gambled on blitzes. They lost on two replay challenges -- one by Smith, one by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. They lost on a chance to gain ground on the Vikings, who are in first place in the NFC North but lost to the Steelers.
"We're kind of putting ourselves in a little bit of a hole here," Ogunelye said.
There is a lot of season left. But if Sunday is an indication, that could mean there are a lot of missed tackles and interceptions waiting to happen.
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Cincinnati Bengals rout Chicago Bears 45-10
Cedric Benson gets his revenge, rushing for 189 yards, TD
Two very different days for these two guys. (Getty / Tribune)