Bengals 5-2 Start Speaks Loudly

Posted by Dan Hoard on October 31, 2011 – 2:55 am

The Seattle Seahawks have retired three uniform numbers. 

#80 for wide receiver Steve Largent.

#71 for offensive lineman Walter Jones.

And #12 for the “12th man.”

There’s a reason why Seattle is 62-37 at home since moving into CenturyLink Field in 2002.  The partial roof that covers approximately 70% of the seats and the steep upper deck trap the crowd noise and make it nearly impossible for visiting offensive players to hear each other.  In 2005, the New York Giants had 11 false starts in one game.

But relying on a silent snap count, the Bengals only had two such penalties on Sunday, and allowed one sack in a 34-12 win over the Seahawks.

“That is a seriously loud place to play,” said left tackle Andrew Whitworth.  “It’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a playoff atmosphere.  That’s the loudest place that I’ve played in and I’m proud of this young team coming out here and doing what it took to win the ballgame.”

“The only guy that struggled with the silent count a little bit was Andre Smith who jumped a couple of times, but everybody else did a great job,” said my radio partner Dave Lapham.  “They changed up the silent count so Seattle’s defensive line couldn’t get a jump on it and really executed well.”

“The thing that people don’t understand is that this isn’t a loud place on third down – this is a loud place on every single down,” said Whitworth.  “You can’t hear anything whether the quarterback is under center or not.  You’re literally just looking at the ball trying to play.  You’re reacting the entire time rather than just playing.  To get out of here without making too many mistakes shows the poise of a young football team.”

Visiting rookie quarterbacks were 1-6 at CenturyLink Field before Andy Dalton joined Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman as the only rookies to win there.

“It was a team win,” said Dalton.  “It wasn’t one phase that did it – we did it in all three.  It’s good to see.  It wasn’t a perfect game, but we were able to get out of here with a win.”

“It was a hard-fought game,” said head coach Marvin Lewis.  “There were things we did very well in all three phases and things that we have to do better.  The coaches will go to work and we’ll get started on Tennessee tomorrow.”

With their fourth straight win, the Bengals improved to 5-2, meaning there are only four teams in the NFL with better records: Green Bay (7-0), San Francisco (6-1), Pittsburgh (6-2), and Detroit (6-2). 

“It’s seven games,” said linebacker Brandon Johnson.  “We have a long road ahead and we’ve only played one division game.  We still have our division opponents coming up and this was not even a conference game.  This was just a good road win.  Anytime you can win on the road is good – it means your team is battle-tested, it means you’re prepared, and it means you’re poised and can go out on the field and handle adversity.” 

“We got some things changed this year and got some new guys in here with new attitudes,” said Whitworth.  “The leaders of this team and the guys that have the biggest roles are doing things the way you’re supposed to do ‘em.  It’s creating a ‘next man’ attitude where every guy is waiting for their chance to prove that they can do it too.  That’s what is helping us be successful.”

“It’s a lot of fun playing with these guys,” said Dalton.  “Everybody is rooting for each other and we’re on the same page.  We have to keep pushing and keep grinding because we still have more than half of the season to go.”

* * * * *

How about Adam Jones?

In his first game back after missing more than a year with a neck injury, Jones was on the field for one play and made it count, returning a punt 63 yards to set up the Bengals first touchdown.  Adam probably would have sprinted 89 yards for a touchdown if he didn’t strain his hamstring on the return, forcing him to sit out the rest of the game.

“I was just trying to make a play,” said Jones.  “I’m expected to do these things.  I’m not bragging or anything, but it was a great block, the ball was deep and I love those kinds of plays.  I just have to stay healthy.  I could have gone back in and played, but there was no use to go out there and pull it when we play Tennessee next week.”

“He’s one of those guys where we’ll all excited when he gets to touch it,” said Whitworth.  “I’m proud of him and they way he stepped in there.  He got a little tweak, but he’ll be alright.”

In fact, Jones says that he will definitely play next week against the team that originally drafted him 6th overall in 2005.

“I can’t wait,” said Jones.  “Believe it.  It’s going to be a real show next week buddy.  You can bet on that.”

* * * * *

I hope you’ll join Dave Lapham and me for “Bengals Gameplan” on Wednesday night from 6 to 8 and Artrell Hawkins and me for “Bengals Pep Rally” on Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 live from the Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash.  Both shows can be heard on ESPN 1530-AM.

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