The Saints marched over the Bengals 13-zip at Paul Brown Stadium last night. With little to fear from starting WRs Antonio Chatman and Glenn Holt, the Saints came hot and heavy after Carson Palmer. Palmer got dropped three times, and finally came out of the game with a bloody nose and cut lip. The offensive line put the blame on itself, but multiple failed blitz pickups by RB Chris Perry and TE Ben Utecht were at least as big a problem.

On the defensive side, things were brighter. While the Saints rolled up more than 450 yards, they scored just 13 points. Given that the Saints had the No. 4 offense last season, that’s something of an achievement.

The biggest lesson of last night was that the Bengals desperately need to get Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh back on the field. Without them, teams can ignore our passing game and focus all their attention on stuffing the run and the QB (Perry managed only 36 yards on 12 attempts last night). It’s the mirror image of last season, when the lack of any real threat at RB meant teams could blanket our receivers and come after Carson.

Doc declared the game “a whole lot of bad,” which can’t be denied — but there’s a lot of that going around. The Bengals weren’t the only AFCN team to shit the bed in their third preseason outing. The media darling Browns were eaten alive by the Detroit Lions, 26-6. Baltimore gave up 17 points in the first half to the Rams, versus scoring a miserable 3 of its own, on the way to a 24-10 loss. Only the Steelers, whose offensive line looked about as bad as ours, managed to squeeze out an anemic 12-10 victory over the Gus Frerotte-led Vikings.

In short, the entire division looks like a whole lot of bad right now.

Pragmatic gives the Bengals their own motivational poster for last night’s game. I would argue that’s a touch harsh. This is an epic fail. The truth is, even in failure, the Bengals are unremarkable. Often creative, sometimes even entertaining, but never epic.

The one silver lining fans can take away is that it doesn’t appear the Bengals were hit with any new injuries.