December of ’10 one to remember in ’11

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on June 23, 2011 – 5:32 pm

One of the many things that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has to do is turn around the trend that has seen the Bengals struggle for points in the second halves of games and the second halves of seasons for the last several years.

A little blast for early summer.

Gruden can get a lift from that last month of 2010, when the Bengals’ leading receivers were the young guns that sparked them to their first two 30-point plus games in December for the first time since 2005 and their highest scoring December since 2007.

Finishing has been elusive despite some high-wire acts under quarterback Carson Palmer. In his six full seasons as the starter, the Bengals averaged 11 points fewer coming out of the locker room at halftime compared to the numbers they had in the first half. Plus, in Palmer’s 27 December-January starts (not counting the injury-shortened 2005 Wild Card Game), the Bengals have averaged 20.5 points per game. In his 71 starts played before December, it is 22.8 points per game.

But in Palmer’s first three seasons, they averaged 24.5 points in his December starts compared to 17.8 in his most recent three seasons. Overall, in Palmer’s first 45 regular-season starts from 2004 to 2006, the Bengals averaged 24 points per game and were continually ranked among the league’s offensive elite. In his last 52, it is 20.6.

Did defenses figure out the offense? Personnel? Foes? His injuries?

The weather?

This past December with the kids, the Bengals put up their 30-spots against top four defenses (No. 1 Chargers, No. 4 Saints) in Paul Brown Stadium games that were played in less than ideal conditions. The 34-30 loss to the Saints was played in a wind that made it feel like 23 degrees and they beat the Chargers in swirling 15-to- 20 mile-per-hour winds that made it feel like 17 degrees.

What’s it all mean?

Ride the winds of December and finish.

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