Mike Nugent robbed Bengals fans of their feelings on Sunday afternoon. With his sorry excuse for a field goal attempt sailing farther and farther away from the goal posts as the overtime clock hit zero—resulting in a 37-37 tie with the Panthers—Bengals fans stood dumbfounded, hands on their head, mouths either agape or spewing words that aren’t fit for print. Fans couldn’t be overly angry, even after what Nugent himself described as a “pathetic” kick, because it wasn’t a loss. But fans had no reason to be happy either, what with a 36-yard chip shot for the win—following a beautiful two-minute drill from Andy Dalton—getting shanked into the seats. Instead, everyone leaving the stadium, sitting at home, or downing one last beer at the bar were in a bit of a haze, five quarters of NFL football rendered essentially meaningless in a matter of seconds. A police officer who’s worked crowd control for events in Cincinnati for a number of years described the post-game crowd as unlike any he had ever seen leaving a Bengals game. It was like a horde of zombies stumbling back to their $20 parking spots. It completely masked all aspects of an incredibly entertaining game, both the good (the offense putting up 37 points without AJ Green; Gio Bernard’s 89-yard TD run; Pacman Jones’s 97-yard kick return) and the bad (the recently vaunted defense allowing 37 points, the penalties, the injuries). Might as well have been a bye week.
“I didn’t have to look up. I could have told you it didn’t hit the net. It was probably the worst ball I’ve ever hit in a game in my career.” —Mike Nugent
1. Mike “Connect with me on LinkedIn” Nugent
It looks as if he will keep his job for the moment, but he is 11-17 on field goals for the season and only 6 for his last 12. How many more misses before the team is forced to bring someone else in? And at what point does it completely erode Nugent’s confidence?
Through the first four games of the season, the Bengals committed 22 penalties for 187 yards. On Sunday against the Panthers, they racked up 13 penalties for 119 yards. A holding call on Andre Smith wiped out a Jeremy Hill touchdown run late in regulation. An illegal shift negated a 34-yard pass to Mo Sanu in the first half. An illegal contact call on Vontaze Burfict gave the Panthers an automatic first down on third-and-10 in overtime. The Bengals had a high-percentage chance of winning the game in overtime, but penalties may have been the only reason it got to that point in the first place.
3. Mo Sanu
With AJ Green (and Marvin Jones, and Tyler Eifert) on the shelf, the Bengals de facto #1 receiver came up huge with 10 catches for 120 yards, including a beautiful leaping touchdown grab.
4. Pacman Jones, kick returner
Having Pacman as a kick returner yet still using Brandon Tate is like having a Ferrari in your garage, but instead of driving it, you invite Brandon Tate over and lie down in the driveway while he runs you over with it.
5. Bengals Pass Rush
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Honorable Mention: Brandon Tate’s redemption (sort of), Jermaine Gresham has hands, Andy Dalton
Our Weekly Look at Andy Dalton vs The Blitz
On 16 snaps against the blitz, Dalton went 11/16 (68.8%) for 121 yards (7.6 ypa), 2 TDs, 1 INT, 0 sacks, 104.4 QB rating, -0.1 PFF grade.
Jeremy Hill’s Ickey Shuffle
Gio Bernard had his best game this season, rushing for 137 yards on 18 carries (7.6 ypc). But if you remove Bernard’s 89-yard touchdown run, he had 48 yards on 17 carries (2.8 ypc), the same average as Jeremy Hill, who had 22 yards on 8 carries. Now, I realize you can’t simply “remove” an 89-yard run from the statistics, but the Bengals have struggled to run the ball well this season (Gio specifically), and aside from that big gain, that held true this week as well.
The Weekly Madden GIFerator Creation
Twisting Ankles is Expensive
Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict will be fined $25,000 for twisting Cam Newton’s and Greg Olsen’s ankles, per league source. — ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 15, 2014