There have been a lot of things about this Bengals season that haven’t made much sense. The entire Packers game. Scoring six points against the Browns in Cleveland. Scratching out wins in back-to-back weeks against the Bills and Lions, then pummeling the Jets, then losing on a walk-off safety to the Dolphins. The Hail Mary-masked suckfest in Baltimore. And then there was Sunday against the Browns in Cincinnati. After getting behind 13-0 in what looked to be an Andy Dalton sabotage game, the Bengals rattled off 31-straight points en route to a 41-20 victory. There were many factors.
Like I said, 13-0. Dalton was well on his way to paying off some debts and getting back in the good graces of those NFL-fanatic Russian mafia dudes he had pissed off…when the Factory of Sadness reared its depressing, lake-effect-riddled head.
2. Second Quarter
Actually, it started with less than a minute to go in the first quarter. Here’s how it went down: Jason Campbell is intercepted by James Harrison, who goes Miley-Cyrus-Wrecking-Ball all the way to the endzone, only to have the TD called back on a penalty during the return—though no biggie, as Dalton accidentally throws a TD pass to the Jerm. A quick three-and-out by the Browns concludes in a tipped punt by Shawn Williams that travels nine yards, giving the Bengals great field position. Mo Sanu goes Swiss Army knife on the ensuing drive, throwing a 25-yard pass to the ‘Nard Dawg and catching a six-yarder for a touchdown. After both teams trade three-and-outs, the Browns inexplicably get ANOTHER punt blocked, this one by Jayson DiManche (who nearly took the ball right off the punter’s foot), and after the ball bounced around the turf for a good 10 minutes or so, anonymous safety Tony Dye (who had been on the official roster for, I don’t know, like a day at that point) runs it back for a score. THEN, after a pair of penalties and one official play by the Browns, they throw a swing pass that gets destroyed by linebacker and Jeremy-Renner-in-The Town-level-of-crazy Vontaze Burfict who forced a fumble, scooped it up, and ran it back for another score. Both offenses tried to out-suck each other for a couple drives before Pacman Jones ran a punt 27 yards late in the half to set up a last-second field goal. In 15 minutes, it went from 13-0 and booing Andy Dalton to 31-13 and bewildered high-fiving. Strange days, indeed.
(via The Big Lead)
4. Andy Dalton
The man’s QB play is like the mood swings of a middle school girl. One month he’s all BFFs with Becky and Allison and Snap Chatting the cutest guy in school and rocking sick Hollister outfits like Mon-Fri and OMG that lip gloss is totes adorable. And then the next month he’s all everyone hates me and Becky is being such a bitch and it’s not like Allison is much better and that cute boy is probably Snap Chatting someone else because he hasn’t sent me one in idk, FOREVER, and that Hollister sweatshirt is gross and I can’t find the lip gloss anywhere and I don’t even want to go to that stupid dance on Friday so who cares if I don’t have anyone to go with I HATE YOU MOM! *Listens to Taylor Swift while gently sobbing*
5. Special Teams
Two blocked punts, one returned for a TD by someone named Tony Dye. Pacman’s punt return to set up a FG. Nugent drilling both of his FG attempts. Kevin Huber’s 45.3-yard average on NINE FRIGGIN’ PUNTS, including a 66-yarder and three pinned inside the 20-yard line. And one more time: Tony Dye.
Honorable Mention: The butt-smacking cop.
James Harrison is a numbers guy: Great quote via The Cincinnati Enquirer by James Harrison when asked about Tony Dye after the game: “Who? 44?”
Two-sides: Andy Dalton
Against Bills-Lions-Jets: 69-104 for 1,034 yards (66-percent completion, 10 yards-per-attempt), 11 TDs, 2 INTs, 84.6 QBR, 122.5 QB rating, 3-0 record.
Against Dolphins-Ravens-Browns: 69-131 for 705 yards (53-percent completion, 5.1 yards-per-attempt), 5 TDs, 8 INTs, 11.5 QBR, 56.8 QB rating, 1-2 record.