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Trend says Bengals bounce back

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on October 18, 2010 – 8:59 am

Take the five toughest losses in the Marvin Lewis era and signs are that the Bengals are going to come out well Sunday in Atlanta. If they have been anything under Lewis, they have been resilient when you least expect and isn’t that about where they are now?

Look what the Bengals did after last year’s opener. They had to go on the road to an NFC playoff contender with one of the league’s best quarterbacks, where no one gave them a shot, and with the help of two Quan Cosby punt returns and a reshuffled Packers offensive line they beat Green Bay. They need the same kind of all-around effort in Atlanta against Matt Ryan this Sunday:

1. Dec. 24, 2006: Denver 24, Bengals 23: With a win, the Bengals would have locked up a playoff berth for the second straight season. And they pushed the Broncos all over the place on the road. They should have won, 42-17. T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a TD pass. Chad Ochocinco illegally moved just before Chris Henry’s 75-yard TD catch. Rudi Johnson fumbled on the edge of the red zone.

Still, still, Palmer marched them one final time and got the tying TD in the last minute. But Brad St. Louis’ PAT snap unbelievably went awry. And if you saw head coach Marvin Lewis’ sweaty stare at the locker-room floor moments later, you would agree it is the worst loss in the last eight years.

The Bengals didn’t bounce back great at home the next week in the ’06 finale against the 7-8 Steelers, but they played well enough to win to get into the playoffs. Except for the small detail that Shayne Graham’s winning 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left went wide.

It was too much to take in seven days. The Steelers scored a TD shortly into OT.

2. Sept. 13, 2009: Denver 12, Bengals 7: You could make an argument the ’09 opener at Paul Brown Stadium is the worst. But they had 15 games to erase it. And, there was the sense they didn’t foul it up but fate did.

After Palmer led them down the field on a last-ditch 91-yard effort to save a miserable offensive day, they took the lead on Cedric Benson’s one-yard TD run with 38 seconds left. With 11 seconds left, Denver quarterback Kyle Orton unleashed the longest winning pass from scrimmage in the last minute of an NFL game when cornerback Leon Hall’s tip ended up in Brandon Stokley’s 87-yard TD catch with 11 seconds left.

But the next week may have been the biggest win in the Lewis era in that 31-24 game in Green Bay that got them to 1-1 for a home game against the Steelers.

3. Oct. 10, 2010: Tampa Bay 24, Bengals 21: The Bengals had the ball and the 21-14 lead with 2:28 left in the game facing a third-and-13 from their own 38. It looked like they were back on track after a bad loss in Cleveland. Palmer’s one-yard TD flip to Jermaine Gresham had given him his 12th fourth-quarter comeback win, they were back up over .500 at 3-2 heading into the bye week before a tough game in Atlanta, and pffttt….

All gone.

The Bengals tried to get the first down and Palmer threw a pick to set up Tampa’s tying TD with 1:26 left. Palmer got them rolling for a winning drive, but his pass to Chad Ochocinco with 25 seconds left that would have put the Bengals in field-goal range was dropped for a pick that led to the winning field goal.

Now they are 2-3, two games back in the AFC North, and headed indoors.

4. Oct. 15, 2006: Tampa Bay 14, Bengals 13: The Bengals were coming off their bye week at 3-1 and had two weeks to recover from their rocky first loss to New England. They look to go to 4-1 for the second straight season when defensive end Justin Smith sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Bruce Gradkowski back at the Bengals 40 in the last minute with a 13-7 lead. But “W” is suddenly turned into “L” when Smith is called for roughing the passer on what looked to be a simple tackle. Gradkowski ends up throwing a TD pass in the final 25 seconds and the Bengals go to 3-2.

And they had a lot more going on than that. Middle linebacker Odell Thurman had recently been suspended for the year for a DUI and the Bengals were going through a brutal stretch off-the-field with legal problems. The next game at PBS was viewed as make or break.

But Lewis kept their heads in it with a 17-14 win over Carolina in a wild fourth quarter. Palmer went deep to The Ocho on fourth-and-one in the winning TD drive and safety Kevin Kaesviharn picked off Jake Delhomme in the end zone to end it.

5. Nov. 12, 2006: San Diego 49, Bengals 41: The team with what people were saying had the most talented roster in the NFL came to PBS and proceeded to get blown out at the half with the Bengals taking a 28-7 lead as Chad Ochocinco closed in on a team-record 260 receiving yards. They would break a two-game losing streak and go to 5-4 before heading to a tough road game in New Orleans and pffft…

All gone.

This is what happens when you can’t run the ball. The Bengals were barely able to move the ball in the second half while Philip Rivers and Co., rolled it up at will and dumped them to 4-5 in extending their losing skein to three.

But with everyone predicting the end of Bengaldom as we knew it, Lewis summoned them for a great effort against the Saints indoors the next week. They survived 510 passing yards from one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks in Drew Brees and allowed them just one touchdown in a 31-16 win keynoted by Ocho’s 190 yards that gave him an NFL record in consecutive games.

Just some footnotes after looking at the list. It always seems like Palmer is leading them down the field in the most desperate of times, and more often than not he seems to produce. Plus, it reminds you how devastating and frustrating 2006 was. It makes you wonder how different the last four seasons would have been if they managed to win one of those games and go to the playoffs back-to-back.

And, doesn’t it look like the Tampa-Atlanta scenario bears some resemblance to the San Diego-New Orleans script? An indoor game against one of the NFC’s best young quarterbacks?


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Trend says Bengals bounce back”

  1. By bengalpirate on Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

    Trends are great, but I apologize in advance if I go on a roll here, as I think I can speak for much of Bengaldom and Cincinnati, here about the Bengals and Ohio sports in general and the frustration we have to live with. I am one of those males whose testosterone level rises and falls with my sports team’s performances and in the last few days, between the Reds meltdown in Game 2 of the NLDS, Bengals snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Tampa Bay, Reds getting swept in the NLDS, Buckeyes loss, its been a rough week. Thank God my NFL fantasy team already won last night, or I probably would have already curled up in the fetal position, thumb in mouth, waiting for December 21, 2012. Seriously, though, I agree the trends say the Bengals should bounce back, but as a Bengals fan since 1968 and a season ticket owner for over 25 years, I’m tired of all the shoulda, coulda, woulda for 29 plus years. Having to endure 2 narrow Super Bowl losses, the Stealers stealing the 2005 playoff game with Kimo’s suicide mission on Carson, the ref stealing the game in Tampa Bay in 2006, the bad snap at Denver the same year, having to endure the longest escalator ride of my life down from the upper deck with a Steeler fans “We Deying” me all the way down after Graham’s missed field goal, etc. etc. etc. excuse me for my pain, but I’m just tired of bounceback trends and we should avoid bounceback games. We need to find a killer instinct and not have to have bounceback trends. Dominate the games we should win, stop the multitude of stupid penalties, win a playoff game or 2 and maybe I’ll stop my whining. The Bengals have the potential to win it all, but until they play without constant penalties, dropped passes and develop a killer instinct as a team, it is all for naught. I have no NFL experience to make coaching suggestions, but it seams to me on offense, we should put Andre Smith in at right tackle all the time and live or die by letting him grow up as a NFL player, use Cedric Benson to his fullest ability every game, use the passing game as a complement to the running game and finally, get back to playing the passionate DEFENSE that won the AFC North last year. OK, I’m finally done, fully vented and out of breath and I’m sure many are glad of that. BOO DEY, until we start playing and coaching like we should, then I will WHO DEY!!! again.
    p.s contrary to many fair-weather fans, or my BOO DEY above, I never boo my Bengals, Carson, or any of my sports teams…..

  2. By blester01 on Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff,

    Our 2-3 start is a result from our offensive coordinator being too much of a liability to the team.

    Bratkowski has consistently shown week after week, season after season that he cannot teach discipline in his unit, cannot win the chess match against opposing defensive coordinators, and cannot provide a passing route tree that maximizes the abilities of the talent on this team. Every week Marvin has to cover for him in his post game press conference.

    The third and thirteen call is just another example of his tomfoolery. Marvin said they wanted to be aggressive, but their play calling over two drives before the 3rd & 13 INT went: R,R,R,P (4 yd dump),R,R, Punt, R,R,P (INT). That is not playing aggressive; that is protecting your 7 point lead.

    Did you watch what the Badgers did to Ohio State in the 4h quarter last Saturday? They had the lead and drove right down the field mixing the play calling up and put the game away. They didn’t sit on their points. With the weapons we have on this team, we should be able to put teams like the Bucs away just like the Saints did yesterday. Bratkowski is the only thing holding the offensive unit back, and he should be held accountable. With him at the helm, this team has no chance of going 8-8.

  3. By overthroensamoan on Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

    I wish I had your optimism. This group is wobbling right on the edge and a loss this week I think sends them over the cliff. This team has 3 glaring problems. 1. CP is just not the same QB. Don’t know if it’s mental or if it’s the crumbling of a franchise QB right in front of our eyes. He’s locking on to that first receiver no progressions and his mechanics are real problem. Watch any game from 05 and I promise you’ll be shocked in the difference in footwork and decision making. 2. Marvin has done his worst job of coaching since he’s been with this team. In 09 he made it very clear we are going to run the ball and brother thay ran the ball. This year no plan no emphasis no focus and brother that’s exactly what we’ve gotten. Just look at all the penalties and mental breakdowns. Say what you will but that’s a direct link to coaching. 3. This D is overrated. Other than the play of the CB’s who really has stepped it up. The DL has taken several steps backward. Other than Atkins no one has played up to par. Geathers and Odom have been complete no shows and the way M Johnson was hyped I thought we had the next J Kearce. The LB corp has been OK. Age seems to be catching up with Jones. Maualuga has not been close to Cushing or Matthews in production and Rivers has done nothing to warrant a first round pick. It’s time to try some new motivation techniques. No number of shovels,axes or even chainsaws will fix this problem. This team is going to have to fix itself.

  4. By hobsonschoice1 on Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

    HEY OVER – My point exactly. That’s what people were saying after the opener last year. All hell was about to descend. They were on the verge of a black hole. They were a step away from the UFL

    We have agree to disagree on Palmer. Hard to find a scout, coach, or analyst that thinks he’s screwed up mechanically.

    As for the defense, the front seven has to step up. You can’t rely on your corners being great on every snap. They’re Pro Bowl-type guys, but they need help.

    B-LES _ To heck with aggressive. Sorry, but this is a big thing of mine. Working the clock to the max. Lap talks about hidden yards on special teams. How about those hidden minutes you can burn?

    If you don’t have the Pats Or Colts or Saints passing schemes, the only time you should be aggressive in a NFL game is getting the lead. That’s fine. But once it is the fourth quarter, then please, play the clock. Please drain the clock. Get out of Dodge. It is an offensive league. No matter how good you are on defense, the athletes or the rules, or both are going to catch up to you.

    Keep the defense off the field as much as you can. The goal shouldn’t be 24 points against most teams. It should be keeping it 35 minutes. That won’t work against the Colts and Saints, but against most it will.

    (Remember when the Dolphins lost to Indy last year even though the Colts had the ball just 15 minutes?)

    Up 7 to 10 in the fourth quarter? Unless you’ve got a bullet-proof passing scheme, you have to shorten the game by running the ball. Snap the ball with a second left on the play clock. If you don’t get a first down and you still have a lead in the fourth quarter, at least take three to four minutes off the clock with runs.

    Shrink the game once you get that lead. Throw to take control. Play-action. Go deep. But run to win and possess the ball. The best way to put away teams when you have a lead late is to put away the pass.

    Aggressive?

    You saw what happened. A three-yard draw on third-and-13 probably wins the game.

    And to Marvin’s credit, he took the blame.

    Hope I didn’t rant, B-Les, but the clock can get me ticking.

    PIRATE _ I feel your pain and Begaldom, I’m sure, appreciates the passion. They could use you on third-and-six.

  5. By 2ndboot on Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

    If anyone could hope for better out of the 90s teams then certainly we can hope for better out of this team, but apparently most have rolled over to die. Not me.
    I’m remaining optimistic till the last play of the last game. Telling Mike Brown or anyone employed by the Bengals that they owe us anything is mamby pamby to say the least. They owe us nothing.
    When you buy a ticket there is no guarantee of victory and nothing on that ticket says you’re entitled to a refund short of the building collapsing or weather so bad it gets replayed another day or something of that nature, but losing doesn’t entitle you to didly squat and whining and crying isn’t going to make the team one bit better.
    Every player knows they lost games and they are the guys who play them so running them down sure won’t make them play to a higher level even though some so called fans seem to think it will.

    The commercial asking if a drill instructor would make a good therapist reminds me of Bengal fans. Let’s just chug on over to mamby pambyland. Want a tissue sissies?
    Te Bengals will win and I’m not giving up on them now, tomorrow or any time as long as I have eyes, ears and breath to know they’re still the Bengals.

  6. By mwindle1973 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    Coulda, shoulda woulda. I’m tired of it too. BUt he fact is that only one team wins the big prize every year, and only 12 make the playoffs. All the other teams have to play the shoulda, coulda, woulda game. So as a fan you have to deal with it. I certainly wouldn’t let effect my hormone levels.

    I just can’t get over how upset people are over us being 2-3. I mean I really expected us to be 4-1 or 3-2 at this point, but things happen. Is 2-3 really that bad. The Vikes are 2-3 and there are still analysts that say they can win the Super Bowl if they get all their pistons firing at the same time. I say the same thing is true here. We have a very talented roster. You want to have a reason to be upset, go be a Cowboy’s fan. They were early favorites to take it all and now are 1-4 without a sign of coming out of it. It happens every year to somebody. And every year some team (the Titans and Chargers seem to specialize in this) comes out at 2-4, 1-5, or worse and turns it around. ONe year the Titans started at 1-4 and finished out 11-0.

  7. By mwindle1973 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hobs this is off the subject, but in my outrage over the Antwan Odom suspension (have you ever heard of a more erroneous description of liability), I have a question.

    Since the NFLPA does not currently have a contract with the NFL, does Odom have a legal outlet to challenge this case? Is it possible that he could end up challenging this in the courts, much like the situation up in Minnesota with their 2 DTs? I’m just curious, because it seems that he would have an angle to sue them for lost wages due to their mindless interpretation of their own rules.

    Or is it the opposite of the scenario I described. Is he not able to sue because there is not a work contract?

  8. By blester01 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff,

    Thanks for the reply. As a former high school coach, I agree with you on time management in the forth quarter. However this is something I don’t the Bengal’s offense is capable of right now with the OL we have and Brat at the helm. In order to burn the clock the offense has to be able to move the ball whether it be by the run or pass. Their OL is clearly not a strength as it should be, and a dominate OL is a prerequisite to have the ability to control the clock in the 4th quarter. Livings has not developed as we all hoped and he has caused critical mistakes in the loses, e.g. fell victim of a Browns twist that led to the Palmer fumble giving the Browns the ball inside their own 15. They also need to insert Smith at RT and sink or swim with last year’s 1st round pick from this point forward.

    At the end of the 4th quarter against the Bucs, Marvin and Brat tried to burn the clock. The Bucs knew they were going to try to eat up the clock and stacked 8 in the box to shut it down. Brat called runs going against 8 men in the box and it resulted in 20 yards on 7 attempts for a very poor 2.8 ypc avg. Good offensive teams can still make a push against this type of defensive scheme or figure a way to attack it and take advantage of the defense’s focus on stopping the run when the game is on the line. This team is not capable of it right now, and until they get the RT and LG situations resolved they may not be able to the rest of the season. They probably would have been better off calling a play action pass on first down to keep the defense honest in lieu of running right into a brick wall.

    My original comment was in response to Coach Lewis’s post game press conference. If they wanted to be aggressive, the play calling did not reflect that attitude. That 3rd & 13 play was more of a gamble then it was being “aggressive”. The Badgers were a better example of aggressive play calling in the forth then what the Bengals called against the Bucs.

  9. By hobsonschoice1 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    WIND – I asked his lawyer if he could do anything with a civil lawsuit and he said he could not. I believe the CBA is still in place until the start of the 2011 financial year, which is the first week of March.

  10. By rparr32 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    Hob, Before I start, I want you to know that there is no offense intended here. The “trend says” that this will be the same Bengals team it has always been, but the only diffrence now is we have more talent. The coaching mistakes are still horrible, and the play calling is still bad. If a coach cannot keep his head together to make proper decisions in a game, then how can the players? This team is a direct reflection of the coaching staff. Defense good, everything else is average/poor at best. When a coach is scrambling around on the sidelines having no idea what to do in a certain situation, how do you think the players feel? The leaders of this team are the coaches, and they aren’t doing much leading, and haven’t for many years. I would not want to go into battle with a platoon leader who is unsure of himself, makes bad decisions, and puts his team into bad situations. I could go on for days about this but I don’t have enough time nor energy. I will make this simple and somewhat short. Over the last 6 years, How many times have you seen timeouts used poorly? How many times have you seen plays called that you knew what they were before they even snapped the ball? False starts, bad snaps etc etc. These players have no confidence because there coaches don’t have it. They are not the leaders that they should be. How many GOOD/GREAT coaches would allow things such as reality shows during the season, excessive tweeting, and diva mentality? NONE!!!!! Marvin is a good coach, just not a good head coach. Bob Brat is really bad. He is so predictable that it is sad. Abondon the run? Why? That is what got them there last year. “Hey guys, I have a great idea….lets change everything we did last year that made us successfull, and start from scratch.” What coach made that decision? This off season, you fire every coach except Zim, give him the power, and let him bring in his own staff. You draft nothing but lineman OF/DF and a QB. You have to make a strong effort to get some of these guys back (like hall and j-joe), and you move forward. These coaches will never be able to achieve anything but average numbers.

  11. By rparr32 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    As far as Palmer is concerned. He may not be mechanically screwed up, or have a bad elbow, but he is a nervous wreck in the pocket and makes decisions that veteran QB’s dont make. You can make all of the excuses you want about protection or whatever, if that is the case throw in an unbalanced line. The Wrs that we have can get it done off of play action. Every snap from here on out should be an unbalanced line, if not then at least 80 percent of them. They dominate when they use it. The defense has to pull extra men in the box and then TO is open way down field off of playaction. I have seen it numerous times this year.

  12. By hobsonschoice1 on Oct 19, 2010 | Reply

    B-LES: Thanks for the note. I thought they moved it quite well in the fourth quarter until they went away from Benson.

    On the first four carries after they went up 21-14 with 12:12 left, Benson went for 4, 5, 7, and 4. They only got stuffed when they went to Brian Leonard on a third-and-two pitch for a two-yard loss after Benson got seven yards up the middle on third-and-one.

    Then, yes, with 3:17 left Benson got just two yards on two carries. Unfortunate. You’d like to think they could have moved eight men for more than two yards with the game on the line against a brutal run defense.

    But that’s my point about burning the clock. Even if you can’t run it, run it. Run on third-and-13, take a delay of game, punt, and it’s pretty much over.

    (No thank you on the play-action pass with 3:17 left.)

    I think you’d agree. You’d rather have this offensive line run block than pass block. They’re hoping they get another shot to burn the clock this week. After going for four yards per carry in the last three games against run defenses ranked 26, 23 and 31, the Falcons are ranked No. 9.

    So we’ll see if Andre Smith gets the call at right tackle.

  13. By cincytodd814 on Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

    3 things with the Bengals demise on offense right now and 2 are very related: 1) Bratkowski needs to go! He is the one constant through the Lewis years and the offense has become predictable. Why when Benson is running 10 yds a pop would you call a pass & Lewis took accountability but I thought the Offensive Coordinator called the plays. Your best power back is on the sideline on a 3rd & 2? cmon!! 2) Carson is not the same no matter what anyone says & he is not a leader. Watching Ton Brady get in ppls face and getting them fired up in that game against Baltimore then our QB just goes to bench & sits down with bb cap?? hmm Same with Peyton, that is what distinguishes true leaders at QB! 3) Since Hue Jackson left our receivers have not been as good. Not disciplined in their routes etc. Bring Hue back as offensive coordinator or something bec Brat has to go! I think enough has been said about the def line or lack of one! Atkins is awesome pick after that who knows!

  14. By lonestripe88 on Oct 21, 2010 | Reply

    As an diehard Bengals fan since ’88 I agree a more aggressive attitude team wide is required to reach future success. We have seen loads of talent come in via free agents, draft choices and trades but we keep missing the target here. On paper, we stack up as a top five or better squad so what’s the missing element? Coaching? Play selection? Who can answer that? The end result is clear, with Coach Lewis in the final stages of his contract, do we look for a different style of leader? I’d say no out of respect but having watched, wished and screamed for a Super Bowl ring from this team, there comes a point where we gotta look to something new perhaps. I agree with bengalpirate though, no matter how down and out this club is I NEVER boo my team. True fans never give up (even though we find it hard to stay loyal).

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