Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wave of Mutilation

Carson lays an egg

Yeah so that happened. The Bengals were annihilated by the Patriots last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The game reminded me a lot of last years' home loss to the Steelers. Both games saw the Bengals look great on the first couple drives but settle for field goals. Then the other team got some momentum, the run defense got carved up, Palmer kept being forced into obvious passing situations, and all of the sudden it smelt like a blowout. The breaks didn't go the Bengals way (how was Kaesviharn's hit a penalty and Brian Russell's not?), but you're not gonna win too many games giving up 236 on the ground. Bottom line, a pretty embarrassing game for the Bengals, given the fact that they were in it until the 4th quarter and ended up losing by 25 at home. The real question for Bengals fans, though, is CAN I PANIC YET?

The answer is...yes, if you really want to, you can panic. The defense has looked terrible the last two weeks against the run (and against the pass last week, Gabriel's TD was ridiculous), the line doesn't look like it can protect Palmer like last year (10 sacks in the last two games), Palmer can't take a sack without coughing the ball up (5 fumbles the last two weeks, 3 lost), key players are out for the year (Pollack, Thurman, probably Braham), and the schedule doesn't really get any easier after the bye (@TB, vs.CAR, vs.ATL, @BAL) if you ignore the Tampa Bay game. So if you're given to panicking (and if you're from Cincy, there's at least a 50-50 chance you are), go ahead and do it.

I won't and here's why. My feeling is that if the defense has Dexter Jackson for the New England game, Maroney doesn't break off those runs. That guy is a much, much better safety than Kaesviharn. The other guy repeatedly victimized by the Maroney stiff-arm (sounds kinda dirty, doesn't it?) was Caleb Miller, who was replacing injured starter Rashad Jeanty. Yes the depth at linebacker worries me, but the guys filling in will get better as the season goes along. Same goes for the new O-lineman, Gesundheit or whatever his name is. And Carson is still rusty. And Chris Perry hasn't played a down yet. And Chris Henry was sitting out. Yadda, yadda, and yadda. Bottom line, this team should be a lot better going forward, and let's not forget they started off 3 and 1 against some pretty good competition. I say let hope spring eternal for these Bengals, once their offense starts hitting on all cylinders, they'll be very tough to beat. Now if we can just keep them all out of jail during the bye week....

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