Another Sunday, another L.

The usual suspects were at fault. Sideshow Bob called his standard uninspired, predictable game. The offensive line — especially center Eric Ghiacuic, dubbed “El Matador” by kingwilly — was atrocious. Chris Perry is junk and Cedric Benson isn’t looking much better. As the game neared its conclusion, head coach Marvin Lewis didn’t even try, leaving timeouts on the board. And finally, to top off this manure sandwich of a weekend, Carson Palmer announced he’d be staying behind in New York to see an elbow specialist.

"“It was my decision (to see the elbow specialist),” Palmer said. “I wanted to get a second opinion, have somebody look at it other than just our doctors. Hopefully they’ll have a different opinion and say it’s a lot better and I’ll be able to play this week.”"

Why? So you can get killed behind this line instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick or your brother Jordan? Shut it down, Carson. There’s no point to it. The line is a wreck, the running game a joke and the coaches are clueless.

Besides, Fitz actually had a decent day today. His mobility makes him more survivable than you and, while he made a bad decision to try to pull up and throw as opposed to just scooting out of bounds, resulting in a strip, he definitely looked improved over two weeks ago. If the Bengals had any semblance of a running game, he might have gotten us our first win.

But of course, they didn’t. How bad was the run game? 15 carries and 21 net yards for the intrepid duo of Chris Perry and Cedric Benson. With 6 rushes for 23 yards and a TD, Fitz was actually the Bengals’ leading rusher. The longest run by a running back was a four-yard scamper by Perry.

Playcalling had a role in this performance, too. Bratkowski keeps trying to mix it up, but it’s obvious that not only can’t the Bengals run the ball, they definitely can’t run it anywhere but the right side. Brat called six runs to the left side that netted a collective four yards. A single run up the middle lost one. So that’s seven runs for a net three, count ’em three yards. Eight runs went over right guard, tackle or end, and they went for a net 18 yards. All but one of those runs gained positive yardage, while five of the seven middle and left-side runs either lost yards or went for no gain.

I never thought I would see myself write this, but Brat needs to return to his pass-happy ways. If he absolutely has to call a running play, make it over the right side.

Defensively, the team performed magnificently. The defense scored. It pressured and sacked Favre. It kept the Jets’ running game in check. It came up with two picks. Rookies like Corey Lynch and Pat Sims contributed. Our big defensive FA, Antwan Odom, made a big play. For gawd’s sake, Frostee Rucker got a sack!

But again and again and again the offense put them right back out on the field. The Bengals punted seven(!) freaking times. The offense held the ball for less than 25 minutes. And by the end of the game, that showed as the defense began to miss tackles and make mistakes, which allowed New York to drive for the game-sealing score. Special teams didn’t help, giving up several big returns and getting off several poor punts. Kyle Larson remains the most consistently inconsistent punter in the league.

What now? Time to move on. The Bengals are now effectively in preseason 2009. Getting Sims on the field today was a start. Now we need to get Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Anthony Collins more playing time. If post-season plans currently envision letting guys like T.J. Houshmandzadeh go, trading Chad Johnson or making coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball, the sooner those events get set in motion, the better.