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Monday, December 03, 2007

What we learned, Cincinnati (again)

The Cincinnati Bengals must have read the quotes from Pittsburgh Steelers safety Anthony Smith about how he was going to light them up if they came across the middle.

I have never seen a less-inspired effort from a group of wideouts in my 15 years of covering the NFL.

Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry could not have played a weaker game than the one they played here Sunday night.

At one point, Henry laid down like a baby getting ready to take a nap after catching a pass over the middle with Smith bearing down on him.

And Cincinnati’s last offensive play of the game was Johnson backing out of bounds for a 13-yard gain rather than fighting for extra yardage when the Bengals needed 17 yards on fourth down to keep their fading hopes alive.

I guess Johnson was just trying to get an early start on his offseason.

© Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer may throw a prettier pass, but I’ll take Ben Roethlisberger on my team anytime over Palmer.

Don’t get me wrong, Palmer is a good quarterback. But Roethlisberger is a football player.

The next time Palmer drops his shoulder and dives into the end zone from four yards out to score, going over a defender to get there, let me know.

© The Steelers had a lot of success against the Bengals by rushing three and dropping eight into coverage.

That won’t work next week against New England.

The key to beating the Patriots is putting pressure on Tom Brady and forcing him out of his comfort zone. He’s way too accurate and patient to allow him to sit back and look for the open receiver.

© Look for the Patriots to employ a similar game plan to the one they did in 2002 against the Steelers when they came out and didn’t even attempt to run the ball.

© I know, we’re supposed to be talking about the Cincinnati game here, but I’m just getting a jump on the national media, who will begin hyping the Pittsburgh-New England game immediately after the Patriots put the Ravens away Monday night.

That moment will come when New England scores its first points because there’s no way Baltimore’s popgun offense will be able to keep up.

© Tyrone Carter has played well in place of strong safety Troy Polamalu, Max Starks was admirable in his replacement of left tackle Marvel Smith and Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington were OK in place of wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

There, we gave those guys the praise the deserve for filling in for injured starters the past two weeks.

But the Steelers will need all of their starters when they line up to play the Patriots.

Word is, all will be ready to go Sunday.

© Najeh Davenport apparently had some numbness in his foot in the hours leading up to Sunday’s game, which was why he was inactive and rookie Gary Russell got a shot to play.

© Roethlisberger pass to Hines Ward during the Steelers’ final touchdown drive, zipping the ball in between two defenders, was a thing of beauty.

So was Ward holding onto the ball after getting popped.

If the Cincinnati receivers weren’t taking notes, they should have been.

© I thought the Bengals would come in and give the Steelers stiffer competition.

I guess they weren't who we thought they were.


adamg said...

Dale, I think you are being a little too harsh on Cincy's WRs. Palmer's passes were all over the lot, catching them would have challenged Superman's powers. It was not a good field last night for a team with a vertical passing game.

On the last play, Johnson was open to and past the first down marker. It wasn't a great pass by Palmer, making Chad get too close to the sideline where he couldn't stay in bounds on a slick field. Had he gotten the ball at the point when he waved for it, he'd have had the first down. Personally, if Cincy is looking to move Johnson, I'd take him on the Steelers in a heartbeat.

Further, that was a great catch by
Henry in the endzone. Had Cincy had a challenge left, I believe it would have been ruled a TD.

On to the home team. Parker needs to start being held accountable for his ball-carrying technique. He was trying to reach a ball forward on a play that was clearly over and not near the goal line? After already fumbling twice? Put two hands on the ball, Willie!

As much as Bruce Arians covets 3 TEs, it's time to put in call to Verron Haynes especially if Davenport cannot play.

The OL looked great. BR wasn't sacked once and except for the almost safety he had plenty of time to throw. I wonder if Starks' play won't earn him another look from the front office to resign. Kudos to Arians for going to quicker drops, shorter passes and the no huddle.

Cotter said...

We all know Chad ducked out of bounds on that last play because you just can't celebrate a 1st down like you can a touchdown. He ain't gonna play unless he's scoring. You're right, Palmer's receivers quit on him. At least Ocho Cince and Chris Henry.

I still think Douchemanzadeh was trying. We just had him locked down.

Great stuff!!

Dale Lolley said...

Parker had six career fumbles coming into that game. He had fumbled just twice this season and just once since the opener. I don't think that's a problem.
It was a wet track and I'm willing to give him a pass on that. But the running game continues to struggle.

adamg said...

Dale, I'd be willing to give him a pass, too, except he continued to hold the ball with one hand even after the first fumble. He needed to understand in those weather and field conditions, he had to put two hands on the ball as soon as he got near tacklers trying to pry out the ball.

FTR, Tomlin sure wasn't giving Parker any passes. He seemed quite annoyed with Parker and the fumbles at his post-game press conference.

I will, otoh, give the running game a pass given the rain and footing on the turf last night.

Bonaventure said...

I was wondering if anyone had any info on Davenport's situation. Is there "more to the story" about his injury/absence, or is that just something that the announcers embellished to try to make an interesting story?