Much like an ugly break up, when you see an ex down the road and realize how much better off you are than she is, was the closure Bengals fans found during the 34-10 thrashing of Carson Palmer’s Raiders. It was evident that the Bengals just plain overmatched an inferior team, and Cincinnati held Palmer to a season-worst 146 yards passing.
The Raiders’ offensive line has been less than stellar this season, one of the many reasons that Raiders running backs have such inflated receiving numbers. Whether it was pressure or excellent coverage, both of which were displayed by the Bengals’ defense, Palmer found himself throwing check-downs and screen passes to Marcel Reece all day.
Raiders receivers caught four passes, three for Juron Criner and the 20-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore. Compare that to 15 receptions for the Raiders’ running backs and tight end Brandon Meyers, and that is quite the statement to the Bengals’ dominance over the Raiders.
Geno Atkins had a sack and two tackles for a loss, one of which being an impressive stop against the screen pass, in which Atkins diagnosed the play and went in coverage against Marcel Reece, then pulled him down behind the line of scrimmage. And, although it did not show up in the stat line, Carlos Dunlap looked especially sharp rushing the passer. His fast first step forced Palmer to step up in the pocket and make hurried passes, and Wallace Gilberry’s sack was caused by pressure from Dunlap.
But the Bengals’ offense should not be overlooked. The offensive line overmatched the Raiders’ defensive counterparts, generating 221 yards rushing at 6.5 YPA. That included runs of 48 and 29 yards for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Cedric Peerman’s 7.6 YPA.
Perhaps the most impressive display by the offensive line was after the Bengals’ offense started out the second half sputtering. After Lamarr Houston threw Andy Dalton to the turf after the whistle on a false start penalty, Andrew Whitworth rushed over to protect his quarterback.
Although the scuffle turned into a brawl that turned into ejections for Whitworth, Houston and Tommy Kelley, the Bengals became inspired while the Raiders imploded.