Cincinnati’s startling comeback in Atlanta fizzled after an incomplete pass to Terrell Owens and a Cedric Benson fumble. The Bengals, who became Cardiac Cats last year after stellar play in the fourth quarter, now seem like they are suffering cardiac arrest.
The defense, one of the strengths of last year’s team, is flatlining. The team is 31st in sacks and just surrendered 39 points after a bye week. The team might have reached 32 points overall, but the offense only produced three points in the first half and the defense added a touchdown as well to inflate the total.
As I always do, I’ll sift through the wreckage to find a few highlights and lowlights.
–The defense had an extra week to find a pass rush and still couldn’t do it. Matt Ryan had ample time on most of his throws and Roddy White dominated the defensive backs.
-The run defense was equally awful, with Michael Turner averaging almost six yards per carry. The defense was missing three starters (Jonathan Joseph, Roy Williams, and Antwan Odom), but that performance was downright putrid.
-Another winnable game turned into a loss. A 25-24 lead evaporated pretty quickly after a Falcons score and a Cedric Benson fumble. The team might have a lot of character, but they’re not great yet at finding ways to win.
-Penalties were abundant once again. Andre Smith had two false starts and the team was flagged twice for 12-men on the field. That’s one too many players, by the way.
–Bernard Scott got more time, making an even stronger argument for more touches. He had five catches for 43 yards and one rush for 14 yards. He’s clearly Cincinnati’s most explosive player and it’s absolutely mind-blowing that he’s not on the field more.
-Carson Palmer topped 400 yards passing. He should have had even more, but Chad Ochocinco dropped a few passes and ran some lazy routes as he’s known to do.
-The hurry-up, no-huddle offense once again produced a lot of points. It’s also blatantly obvious that this is Cincinnati’s best offensive scheme and it would make some serious sense to employ it a lot more. The hurry-up helps Carson stay in a rhythm and it also helps an average offensive line by wearing out the defense.
-Jordan Shipley is a stud. His slight build might get him injured often, but the kid catches everything that’s even close. It’s clear that Carson Palmer has a lot of confidence in him as well.
I’d say that’s about it. I think the Bengals will have to win 10 games to make the playoffs so they can only lose two more. That’s a tough task considering there are road games awaiting with Indianapolis, the Jets, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
I’m not giving up hope yet. But there isn’t much left either.