Sunday, December 10, 2006
Sweet and Tender Hooligan(s)
The Bengals took care of business this Sunday, defeating the hapless Oakland Raiders 27-10. The offense moved the ball more or less at will against a very good Raiders D, not punting once the entire game. Turnovers were the only thing holding the Bengals back, with Palmer throwing three picks and Rudi fumbling (for the first time since 2004) in Raider territory. TJ, CJ, and Rudi all went for over 100 yards while the defense consistently got pressure on Aaron Brooks, sacking him four times. The win gives the Bengals an 8-5 record and the lead in the AFC wild card race thanks to losses from Denver, KC, and the Jets. The Bengals are right where they want to be.
A few thoughts....
1. Everyone keeps saying that the Raiders are the new Bungles (90's Bengals), but I think Oakland's still got a ways to go. Right now they appear to be in their Bengals circa 94 phase, experiencing only their fourth year of dismalness. Aaron Brooks looks a little like Jeff Blake, only worse (which is ironic since he took Blake's job in New Orleans), but other than having consistently dreadful teams and scrambling QB's with accuracy problems, there's not a whole lot in common between the present Raiders and the old Bengals. The 90's Bengals were known for their high powered offenses with WRs Carl Pickens and Darnay Scott and terrible defenses (one of their starting CB's, Rod Jones, was nicknamed "toast"), while the present Raiders have the worst offense in the NFL and a very good defense.
Regardless, the inverse of this argument seems to work a lot better. The Bengals look a lot like a talented Raiders team from the 80's that just might have a few character issues (read: a ridiculous amount of players with arrest records). The latest members of the Bengals Brotherhood of the Breathalyzer are Reggie McNeal and Deltha O'Neal, a couple of good Irish kids. They join Eric Steinbach, Odell Thurman, A.J. Nicholson, Matthias Askew, Frostee Rucker, and of course, the founding member, Chris Henry. A couple of these guys actually were charged with crimes before they ever played for the Bengals, but I think that's really just a testament to the organization's nose for finding criminally-minded football players. The police should actually use the Bengals' scouting department in a kind of Minority Report capacity to prevent crimes before they happen. Just throw everyone the Bengals are thinking of drafting next year in jail RIGHT NOW. This could really help the war on crime. Wait, there's no war on crime? Let's see, terror....drugs...nope, no war on crime. Well fuck it then, let em' play.
2. McNeal just received an additional drug charge on top of his resisting arrest rap. He apparently laced a cigarette with some kind of an antihistamine that can be used as a sedative. Maybe he should've smoked it before he started smacking up that undercover cop.
3. I kind of wish that other cities could experience the level of coverage that the major New York teams (Mets, Yankees, Giants) receive. The Bengals would be a gold mine for cheesy back page headlines from the Post or the News. Yesterday would've been "DELTHA GROUNDED!". Or after Thurman's arrest for a DUI: "WALK THE LINE...BACKER". Okay, I'll stop now.
4. O'Neal got arrested at a checkpoint on State Route 125 at Bach Buxton Road, which is about a mile away from where I grew up in Clermont County (or for those of you unfamiliar with the area, between the 3rd and 4th Dairy Marts after the interstate). I was a little surprised that Deltha was driving around out there, because, as far as I know, the only strip club in Clermont County is on State Route 32, right around where Chris Henry was pulled over for his DUI (now that made sense). Maybe Deltha thought that the mile markers on 125 heading toward the town of Bethel said "Brothel 12 miles" instead of "Bethel 12 miles". Pure speculation.