Observations from the Bengals 34-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders…
-Carson Palmer: 19 of 34 passing for 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble, QB rating of 64.1, QBR of 4.6. Sacked four times, hit and/or pressured about a billion, booed incessantly. I’m no expert on karma, but I think Sunday might have been the definition of it.
-Speaking of Geno Atkins, the man is a menace.
-Another big week for Mohamed Sanu, who hauled in two touchdown passes to extend his consecutive games streak to three. His own one-hander wasn’t quite as impressive as A.J. Green’s last week, but was still pretty smooth.
-Someone awoke the beast that is the Bengals running game, particularly BenJarvis Green-Ellis. The Law Firm ripped off a pair of huge runs and was strong all day, racking up 129 yards on only 19 carries. Reverend Ced Peerman chipped in 61 yards on eight carries, and this time without the assistance of a fake punt.
-For the third week in a row, the Bengals could breath pretty easy on the other side of halftime. It was 21-0 midway through the second quarter. The lackluster third-quarter performance by Cincinnati, racking up (down?) -4 yards, didn’t even hurt the squad all that much.
-And yet the two team’s still found a way a to make it interesting in the final quarter, what with the momentary brawl (which really looked like more of a rugby scrum). I don’t generally condone physical violence—ya know, other than football in a general—but count me among those praising Andrew Whitworth for having Andy Dalton’s back in the whole ordeal. Every point man needs some muscle: White Goodman had his fitness consigliore Michelle, Avon Barksdale had Slim Charles, and Andy has Whit.
-The plays surrounding the scrape were also another (far too rare) example of things breaking right for the Bengals. First, Sanu seemingly catches a third-down pass that is jarred loose by the Oakland defender. There was a momentary “incomplete or fumble?” pause by those involved, after which the Oakland player saved the ball from going out of bounds. This was followed by an inadvertent whistle by the ref, rendering the Raiders recovery and jaunt into the endzone meaningless. This somehow results in the Bengals getting to replay third down (?), despite Mike Pereira’s contention that it should have been incomplete in the first place. The retry results in a false start, which leads to the scuffle, which leads to three player ejections, which leads to a 3rd & 11, which leads to a 48-yard heave to A.J. Green, at which point no one would have blamed the Raiders for walking off the field and packing it in for the day. Weird, wild stuff.
Things I liked: Defensive pressure on the QB, Rev. Ced getting more carries, Gresham’s stiff-arm on his TD catch, no turnovers (again) for Dalton, scoring 34 points.
Things I didn’t like: The third quarter, another questionable challenge by Marvin, Nugent missing another field goal, Tate running a kick back from nine yards deep in the endzone.
Parting Thought: I’m betting Mike Brown felt pretty good about himself on Sunday. This time, he may actually deserve to.