Postgame Pros and Cons


An ugly win again, but a win nonetheless.


-The special teams is better than it has been in a very long time. Mike Nugent continues to impress, with both distance and accuracy on his field goals and kickoffs. Kevin Huber repeatedly pinned the Panthers inside the 20-yard-line thanks to some quality punt coverage, and my hetero man-crush Brian Leonard converted a borderline crazy fake punt (and a second 4th-down conversion for good measure).

-A win is a win is a win is a win. This was pig-in-a-dress ugly, but it keeps Cincinnati in good shape overall.

-The defense was solid overall, forcing several three-and-outs, multiple turnovers and holding Carolina to seven points overall. The unit gets bonus points for doing everything a bit short-handed.

-The team’s rookies (Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley) and depth remain a strength. Defensively, Morgan Trent and some other reserves made solid contributions.


The offense is still out of sync, Carson Palmer included. Perhaps the weather contributed to the sloppy play, but this lack of consistency is officially a reason to be alarmed. The team needs to improve in the coming weeks to remain a contender.

-Furthermore, the offense is showing zero explosiveness. I understand that opposing teams are making a point to limit big plays, but I’m not sure Cincinnati has a consistent power hitter at this point. Except…

-Bernard Scott still isn’t getting enough touches. He had two carries yesterday for 15 yards, a pretty good average. He had a kickoff return for 16 yards, which isn’t bad either. Ced Benson is going to break down and the Bengals will remain punchless offensively unless Scott gets more involved. I’m still waiting to hear a single, solitary reason why he should not be involved considerably more.

-Dennis Roland was in la-la land when the Bengals needed him on the line to spike the ball and kick a field goal. Those three points could have cost them the game. Roland also had a penalty. And the first-round backup right tackle, Andre Smith, wasn’t even active. Barf.

-I’d like to see some 3-4 looks from the defense. Rey Maualuga would be a force on the inside (he’s almost ready to supplant Dhani Jones if he can handle the defensive calls and alignments) and the pass rush would benefit from the confusion created by varied rushers like Michael Johnson coming off the edge. Plus, Robert Geathers doesn’t seem to be much of a pass rusher these days. And the Bengals have enough effective players to tinker with some 3-4 looks. At least enough to confuse the offense.

Hopefully, the team flushed that game and sprayed afterwards. It’s on to Cleveland to face a desperate Browns team that will be a lot to handle in a hostile environment. A 3-1 record won’t be easy, but it would be a nice start heading into the bye week.