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Thoughts on the Bengals' Victory in Cleveland

With a bit of time to digest what happened in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, I am happy that the Bengals got a win. I am also happy to see that the team was able to win a game that I am not sure they deserved to win – actually, make that I am sure that they did not deserve to win. Carson Palmer’s inability to string together four straight solid quarters is a bit disconcerting. In the second and third quarters, I couldn’t help but question his decision-making skills.

Palmer finished the day with a rather pedestrian 230 yards passing on 23 completions, a 5.2-yard average and a passer rating of 73.1. Unfortunately for number nine, he was outperformed by Derek Anderson for the better part of the final three quarters. I was surprised to see that Anderson finished with a lower rating than Palmer, and it would have been far lower if someone could have covered Mohammed Masssaquoi. The rookie had 13 passes thrown his way, catching eight for 148 yards. More on that in a minute – back to the offense. I was a bit confused as to why the Bengals weren’t running the ball more when we were struggling with our bout of three-and-out-itis in the middle of the game. Despite the offensive woes, Cardiac Carson was able to come through when needed – driving the team to get the tying six points with slightly less than two minutes to go. Crazy Legs Carson also stepped up on fourth and 11 as the OT period ticked down, running for 15 yards to help win the game– perhaps he finally heard me yelling run, Run, RUN!!! through my television.

Of course, to win, the Bengals only needed to kick a chip-shot field goal, easier said than done on this given Sunday. I don’t know Brad St. Louis, I don’t know his family, I don’t know anything about him, and I am guessing that he is a nice gentleman; however, he must have pictures of someone in the Brown family in a compromising position. I have long snapped in high school and dabbled in it in college, and it is not easy; of course, I was not getting paid $400,000+ to snap the ball. If St. Louis wasn’t cut before the team left Cleveland, there is something wrong. He did not cost us this game, he didn’t cost us the Pittsburgh game, and didn’t cost us the Denver game – but he could cost us a game sooner than later I feel. I don’t fault him for not being able to block Shaun “Biz Markie” Rogers (who does look like Biz Markie, look it up), I fault him for not being able to snap the ball accurately.

While I am on a tangent about special teams, KICK THE BALL AWAY FROM JOSH CRIBBS! Seriously. Of course, Huber is far better than Kyle “30-yards in a cloud of dust” Larson.

I have to credit the defense a bit. While they could not cover Massaquoi (is Leon Hall hurt and not telling us? and is Jonathon Joseph fully healed?), they did do their best impression of a rubber band – stretching, not breaking – when put in tough positions. Robert Geathers played well, as did Chinedum Ndukwe, Brandon Johnson, and Keith Rivers. Solid games from the defense, and I love Mike Zimmer’s play calling. Rather than sitting back and letting a QB pick them apart for 13 yards on fourth and 10, Zimmer blitzes and makes the situation and decision difficult for the opposing QB. I like the aggression and the scheme, plus he now has the athletes capable of carrying out the plan. I just hope that Tank and Roy Williams are healthy, they just bring a swagger to the defense that is fun to watch.

Overall, the Bengals won – I’m not sure how, but a win is a win. In order to beat Baltimore, Palmer and the offense will have to mesh in all four quarters. The Ravens are good and will not be easy to keep from scoring points, Joe Flacco is the QB Baltimore has been looking for (the best in the city since Johnny Unitas?) and the defense will be tested.


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