Numbing numbers for Nine

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on December 13, 2010 – 12:50 pm

Take the 12 worst games of quarterback Carson Palmer‘s career via passer rating and there aren’t many surprises.


Sept. 7, 2008     at Baltimore                          35.3   L, 17-10

Nov. 25, 2010      at Jets                                    41.0    L, 26-10

Sept. 14, 2008    TENNESSSEE                        41.3    L, 24-7

Sept. 26, 2004      BALTIMORE                       43.4    L, 23-9

Dec. 23, 2007        CLEVELAND                      44.8   W, 19-14

Dec. 12, 2010        at Pittsburgh                      48.7    L, 23-7

Dec. 2, 2007           at Pittsburgh                     51.6    L, 24-10

Oct. 3, 2004            at Pittsburgh                     52.1    L, 28-17

Nov. 5, 2006           at Baltimore                     52.4    L, 26-20

Sept. 19, 2004        MIAMI                               53.3    W, 16-13

Dec. 11, 2005      CLEVELAND                        53.5    W, 23-20

Oct. 23, 2005      PITTSBURGH                       53.8    L, 27-13

If Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau tortures Chad Ochocinco (he’s never had a 100-yard game against him), he also puts Palmer on the rack. Four of his bottom 12 are against Pittsburgh with Sunday’s Troy Polamalu highlight film (48.7) the worst and sixth overall on the list.  Three are against Rex Ryan (two with Baltimore, one last month with the Jets). Half are on the road. Half at home. Nine are in the division housing two of the game’s best defenses. The Bengals lost all but three of them.

Maybe the most disturbing thing is that two of the games from this season, his seventh year as a starter, are on the list and both are worse than only one of his three rookie entrants.

See any common denominators? I was trying to tie into the loss of Palmer’s two Pro Bowl tackles from back in the day, the lack of a running game, weather, but the bad ones come from all over the spectrum.  Two games from the T.O. era and none from the Laveranues Coles era. I’d be interested to see what people say about the list.

But one thing is clear: You just can’t do what he did Sunday. Just give them two touchdowns. Not against that defense, that team, in that building.  There is no question Palmer is not playing as consistently as the quarterback he was. We all know that. That’s the issue. Tell me why he is so inconsistent. Has the scheme failed him? Has the revolving door of receivers eaten away at his confidence? Has the lack of a truly consistent 4.0 yard per rush running game overexposed him?

(I would say the rest of the league has caught up with the Bengals offensive line with three practice squad starters, but then I watched the Steelers on Sunday win their 10th game of the season with a bunch of guys and a good rookie up front and aren’t the Bengals as talented as that? Although they’ve got to figure out right tackle if they can’t count on Andre Smith.)

With the way the Bengals ran the ball last year, the play-action pass should be Palmer’s best weapon. Instead, despite the fake, LaMarr Woodley is running into pass coverage. He still has to see Woodley, but there is just no respect for the run. And how that can happen after last season is crazy.

Clearly Palmer’s confidence is shot and there’s no question his body is battered from this season. Woodley and Lawrence Timmons nearly broke him in half early on a 15-yard throw to The Ocho, but injury had nothing to do with Sunday’s three picks. And they’ve protected him pretty well in general the last two weeks. He played so well last Sunday against the Super Bowl champs and then this. The inconsistency makes you think it’s not all him.

(And the offense is healthy. It looks like safety Chinedum Ndukwe is going to become the 15th player to go on IR, and only one (Smith) is an offensive starter.)

I’m sure you guys read Peter King Monday morning urging Mike Brown to trade Palmer to the Niners for a second-round pick, so that tells you some things are churning somewhere and it’s not from the Bengals. Peter talks a lot about Palmer’s “misfiring,” which means he has a lot more confidence in the routes of the Bengals receivers than most observers.

The way Brown feels about Palmer and quarterbacks, I don’t see a trade. He might collect them, but he won’t give them away and he’s got no veteran QB in sight to bring along with a highly drafted rookie. Certainly with this offseason of discontent looming in Bengaldom, there is no time to rebuild.  They have to win quickly.

Some other thoughts:

» Tell me again why the Bengals didn’t draft DeSean Jackson?

» Speaking of the Eagles, when was the last time an Andy Reid team ran out the clock on the ground like they did Sunday night against the Cowboys?

» When old friend Jon Kitna flipped that big screen pass to Cowboys running back Felix Jones, all I could think about was Bernard Scott.

» The Ocho really goes through the emotions on Twitter. On the trip home Sunday, he offered some profane-laced frustration. Then on Monday morning he had some breaking news on OCNN: “Chad Ocho whatever the (bleep) his name is is the reason for the Bengals down season again, he sends his deepest apology.”

» Here’s a better reason. Time of possession. This year it is 30:31. Last year it was 31:59. That means their defense has been on the field an extra 20 minutes. It is an offensive league. They protect the offensive players and they design the rules for the offense. No matter how good your defense is, you have to limit their exposure. Those 20 minutes are showing up.

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