Cincinnati Bengals franchise player Shayne Graham missed two critical field goals en route to a 24-14 loss to the New York Jets in the Wild Card round at PBS. Graham was by no means the only striped goat of the game, but his very makeable 35 and 28 yard misses validated the widespread impression among fans that he’s choker. Graham has almost certainly played his last game as a Bengal.
Shayne wasn’t the only one providing ammo to his critics tonight. Offensive coordinator Sideshow Bob underutilized RB Cedric Benson early on. Despite the fact that Benson was en fuego all night, tearing up the field, making great moves, and imposing his will on the Jets’ D, the Bengals continued to try to throw the ball. WR Laveranues Coles hurt his thumb early, WR Andre Caldwell got rolled up, WR Chad Johnson was locked up with CB Darrelle Revis all night — but heaven forfend the Bengals run the ball!
Not only was the WR corps a wreck, but QB Carson Palmer made all his critics look right. High throws and bad decisions abounded. Despite having time all night, he couldn’t find receivers, and when he did, he couldn’t hit them. Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez looked like a seasoned veteran by comparison.
The defense was mostly stout, but had a few big breakdowns that led to Jets’ scores. It took a hit early, losing LB Rashard Jeanty on the opening kickoff, but Brandon Johnson filled in admirably. Two turnovers by the offense, combined with its inability to score, simply gave the D no room for error.
This was not how I hoped the season would end, obviously. However, I never expected the Bengals to get this far in the first place. So while I am immensely disappointed tonight, I’m also very proud of these guys. Let’s get some injured guys back, have a strong draft, and pick up where we left off next September.
Here’s the last toast of the evening, here’s to those who still believe
All the losers will be winners, all the givers shall receive
Here’s to trouble-free tomorrows, may your sorrows all be small
Here’s to the losers, here’s to the losers, here’s to the losers
Bless them all!