The Bengals are That Good...
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 26, 2005 6:20PM
While visions of playoff danced in Bears Fans' heads after last week's 37-6 victory over the Lions, another group of cats brought them back down to earth yesterday. The Cincinnati Bengals won 24-7, picking off Kyle Orton 5 times. While the Bears fall to 1-2 on the season, the Bengals are a surprising 3-0 for the first time since 1990. Are they really that good? Yeah, they are...
Some may point the finger at Bears rookie QB Kyle Orton for his 5 picks, but the swarming Bengals defense also picked off Pro Bowler Dante Culpepper 5 times the week before. And they lead the entire NFL with 12 interceptions.
Their defense repeatedly gave the offense great field position, which made it impossible for the Bears defense to stop Carson Palmer and Johnson Squared (Rudi and Chad) every time. The Bears D did a commendable job in holding them to just 24 points -- this easily could have been a 40-point blowout were it not for the defense. They forced Cincy to punt 9 times in spite of all the turnovers and held them to 244 total yards -- well below their 362 yds./game average.
While the defense held the Bengals offense in check as much as could be expected, the offense just couldn't get into any rhythm against the Bengals defense. Orton's 5 picks were a bit ugly, but he is a rookie QB and one who even expected to take the field this season. He's going to have ups and down as he learns to play QB in the NFL. And better to have a "learning experience" happen against a defense who did the same thing to a superstar. What would have made yesterday's passing game less troubling would have been a better running attack. Thomas Jones gained 106 yards on 27 carries -- an average of only 3.9 yards per carry. How did first round pick Cedric Benson do? He never got into the game, in part because playing catch up all day meant the running backs needed to do plenty of blocking for pass protection and Cedric's blocking ain't so hot.
The Bears have a bye next weekend, so hopefully they can get in plenty of productive work on their offense. While yesterday's game included more negatives than positives, they still didn't look at hopeless as last year's Terry Shea-coached, QB-of-the-Week led offense. They're still tied for wins in the NFC North with Minnesota (also 1-2) and the Lions (1-1 with a week 3 bye). So it's definitely too soon to write off the season.
Photo via Yahoo! News