Cincinnati’s victory over the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium was significant for two reasons. The Bengals now have momentum heading into a stretch of very winnable games. The Raiders and Eagles look to have the Bengals favored, while Dallas and San Diego are not exactly intimidating.
Even more importantly, the Bengals were able to come back after a huge 31-13 against the Giants and beat the Chiefs quite handily, 28-6. No let down, no loss of focus and no playing down to an inferior competition. For the second week in a row the Bengals were playing at a high level.
Of course, not everything was perfect. Andrew Whitworth, whose technique and awareness have served him more than his deteriorating physical skills this season, was abused by Tamba Hali to the tune of two sacks. Of course, many left tackles have been, Whit surely is not the first, but Hali’s combination of speed and strength and arsenal of counter moves exposed Whitworth’s lack of lower-body power this season.
Eventually tight end Jermaine Gresham began chipping Hali to help Whit out, including one particularly great play in which Gresham bowled over Hali then released to the flat for a nice catch-and-run. After a lull in the season in which he seemed to suffer from drops and concentration lapses, Gresham has shown a consistent high level of play these past two weeks. He has shown an ability to eat up yards after the catch as well as make tough catches on post routes.
While Gresham had previously not managed to consistently use his frame to make that tough reception between the linebacker and safety, he has been boxing out smaller defenders down the seam a few times a game.
The offensive line managed to really plow the way in the running game, pushing around Kansas City’s defensive line. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 25 times for 101 yards and 4 YPC, while Cedric Peerman had 8 carries for 75 yards and a 9.4 average. Even if Peerman’s run for a first down on a fake punt is disregarded, which was one of the plays that really kick-started the Bengals, he still had 7 carries for 42 yards and an average of 6 YPC.
Many of those runs, including Green-Ellis’ touchdown, went directly behind rookie guard Kevin Zeitler. He and Andre Smith continue to become a strong run-blocking tandem. Trevor Robinson continued to play up and down, but the ups were more than the downs.