Gameday and Open Thread: Bengals @ Ravens (Game #9)

GAME: Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
WHEN: Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 4:05pm
LOCATION: Baltimore
BROADCAST: CBS (4:05 PM ET): Dick Enberg, Randy Cross. Sirius: 119 (Cin.), 130 (Bal.). DirectTV: 712. DirectTV HD: 722
SB NATION: Baltimore Beatdown

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Bengals 21, Ravens 7. Final
Bengals WIN

The Bengals offense struggled all day in the redzone scoring no points. Enter Shayne Graham. The Bengals place kicker set a franchise record kicking seven field goals on a day that the Bengals defense forced five turnovers shutting out the Ravens for the first 58 minutes of the game.

Chris Henry's return was big, yet expected, with 99 yards receiving on four receptions -- including a 50-yarder that set up the team's second field goal. Rudi Johnson struggled recording only 46 yards on the ground on 22 carries -- the longest going 15 yards. Many will complain, no doubt. I do like the fact that the Bengals ran the ball 32 times against 34 passes. The balance was there. And I do like that Bob Bratkowski kept calling runs -- not panicking to the pass -- even though rushing the ball was ineffective all game. That enabled the Bengals to dominate the time of clock 35:42-24:18.

In the second half, the Bengals, on the first five drives, ended with field goals. They had four drives that went 10 yards or more including five drives that lasted more than five minutes. That doesn't seem like a lot for typical NFL teams. For the Bengals, that's an eternity of clock control. The Ravens had a stretch of five drives with four ending in either interception or fumble -- mostly self-inflicted. The Bengals defense allowed only 272 yards to the Ravens -- 85 yards on the two Boller drives at the end of the game. Yardage that's also called garbage time.

But if you had to call for your key players of the game:

Offense: Chris Henry
Special Teams: Shayne Graham
Defense: Steve McNair

I will give Palmer a break because we won and the Ravens defense has always been good. But in seven redzone tries, Palmer's effectiveness suddenly becomes nonexistent.

All-in-all, this was a good game rivaling, what I think, the Bengals best all-around game of the year. Oddly enough, rivaling the first meeting between the two teams. The Bengals own the Ravens right now having won the last three meetings, six of the past seven meetings and three of the last four games in Baltimore. The Bengals have swept the season-series against the Ravens in two of the past three seasons (2007, 2005).

[7:00] Rudi bounces off the pile at the point of attack and picks up nothing. However, the Ravens were called for a face mask. First-and-five now. Rudi gets the handoff and drops at the line of scrimmage. Ravens call timeout #2. Rudi runs to the right, then cuts back left and picks up the first down on about 8-9 yards. Defense called for facemask. Rudi blown up again after about a one-yard gain.

[6:57] Ravens kick onside. Bengals called timeout before kick. Icing the onside kick, I suppose. Deltha did recover, but the ball will be kicked again.

Let's try this again. Ravens kick onside -- to the other side. T.J. caught the onside, bobbled it and recovered it. Oh lordy.

[6:53] Ravens score a touchdown. McGahee runs off the left and the Ravens offense celebrates and the fans of Baltimore rejoice.

[6:51] Well, the Ravens picked up 48 yards. The pass was to Clayton. Deltha O'Neal was underneath and tried to tip the ball. Marvin White, I guess, fell down. After White fell, Clayton picked up the bulk of his yardage. O'Neal did track him down and caused enough imbalance for Clayton to fall at the one yard line.

[6:50] Bengals are running the clock now. Two carries to Rudi for three yards. Rudi now has 17 carries for 36 yards rushing. Third-and-eight at the Cincinnati 22-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, takes the sack by Pryce. First sack of the game allowed by the Bengals offensive line. Although, Palmer has been knocked down several times. Larson punts for only the second time today -- 51 yards. Ravens have the ball.

[6:48] After Blue Adams committed in what seems his one 15-yard penalty of the game, Boller completes passes of 7, 9, 5 and then nearly picked off by Nedu. Should have had it.

Ravens line up third-and-nine at the Bengals 37-yard line. Boller in shotgun pumps and hits Darling over the middle for another 16 yards. Then on first-and-ten, Boller throws deep over the middle and NEDU PICKS OFF THE PASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bengals are +5 in the turnover department.

[6:42] Kyle Boller comes in to the delight of the fans.

[6:39] After being blown up in the backfield, Rudi got another shot and picked up nine yards setting up a third-and-three at the Baltimore 14-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, throws the ball to the right and Glenn Holt was hit in the backfield.

Shayne Graham set the record for most field goals in a single-game in franchise history after kicking a 33-yard field. The 17th straight field goal ties his own record in 2005 for consecutive field goals.

Then, right before commercial, they showed Kyle Boller warming up. He threw the ball directly in the ground warming up, threw his arms out like, "What the heck!". C' mon in, Kyle.

[6:37] On first down, McNair drops back and LOST THE FOOTBALL. No reason for it. None. The football just fell out. Holy Crap. Bengals have the ball. Johnathan Fanene actually got his hands barely on the football causing the fumble and recovering. Wow.

[6:33] Shayne Graham kicks bouncing ball and NO RAVENS PICKED UP THE BALL. Marvin White picks up the ball -- think on-side kick around the 20-yard line. YES! YES! YES!

First down, Bengals football, from the 11-yard line. Palmer hands off to Watson and he's blown up by Ray Lewis at the line of scrimmage. Clock, clock, clock.

Watson gets the handoff for the second time for three yards. Minimal room. Palmer, in shotgun, shovels the ball to Watson and runs up the middle. Man, if he bounces that outside, he goes for the score.

Shayne Graham kicks 21-yard field goal. The sixth field goal ties Doug Pelfrey for most in a single-game. It's his 16th straight field goal.

[6:28] On first down, Palmer drops back and throws deep down the right sidelines to Henry against two DBs. Incomplete. It was a jump ball. On second down, Rudi runs right and then cuts back left, stutter steps (as if anything else) for six yards. Third-and-four at the Baltimore 26-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, drops back and throws to the right to Henry who made two guys miss with mad freaking skills.

Henry, on his first game, has 99 yards on four catches.

First-and-goal at the nine yard line and, well, Rudi gets smoked in the backfield. Lord. It gets old saying that each time. Three yard loss. Two-and-goal from the 12-yard line and Andrew Whitworth jumps early.

Rudi has 13 carries for 27 yards.

Second-and-goal at the 17-yard line. Palmer drops back and dumps off the pass to Watson on a screen. Not ready because Palmer had to get rid of the pass from a Suggs blitz.

Third down, Palmer overthrows Watson. Shayne Graham comes in and kicks a 35-yard field goal. His fifth of the game and 15th straight.

[6:22] Shayne Graham's 14 straight is challenging his 16 straight in 2005. The Bengals offense has gone four straight drives of 10 plays or more and over 4 minutes. That doesn't include the knee to end the first half. On first down, the Ravens LOST THE FOOTBALL. Bengals BALL!!!!! McGahee on the rush attempt lost the football and Frostee Rucker ripped the ball out and recovered too!!!! Way to go Frostee!!

[6:19] If the Bengals offensive line could make that one block, they could break a good run. But, the Ravens defense isn't the Ravens defense for nothing. Bengals line up with third-and-six at the Baltimore 15-yard line. I bet Palmer throws under the first down marker or incomplete. Palmer, in shotgun, pump fakes and LOST THE FOOTBALL. The pile piles up and the Bengals come out with the ball. Palmer. Dude. Bengals kick 35-yard field goal. That's his fourth of the game and the 14th straight that he's kicked.

[6:15] Bengals line up first down at the Cincinnati 37-yard line. After a minimal Watson gain, Bobbie Williams was blocking guy about 3-4 yards into the backfield, T.J. picks up seven yards setting up third-and-three at the Cincinnati 44-yard line. Palmer rolls out right and hits T.J. standing on the right sidelines one yard past the first down marker. First down.

After four yards on a Kenny Watson attitude-run (i.e., putting head down and going), Palmer hits Jeremi Johnson in the left flats for a first down on the 14-yard pickup. Bengals line up first down at the Baltimore 34-yard line, Watson runs off the left edge between Levi and Whitworth for four yards. Palmer, on second down at the 30-yard line, hits Chad Johnson off the left side -- on the "20" -- for 11 yards and another first down.

Palmer hands off to Rudi and stuffed at the LOS. With a patent spin move, Rudi picks up another three yards setting up second-and-seven. Palmer hands off to Rudi again for a one-yard gain. Eric Ghiaciuc's guy made the stop.

[6:07] Ravens line up with a first-and-ten at the Baltimore 28-yard line. McNair, in shotgun, play action with Justin Smith in his sights. Smith just stares at him. McNair floats the pass one yard to Clayton. That should have been a sack. Really. After a one-yard gain by McGahee stopped by Peko, the Ravens set up with a third-and-eight at the Baltimore 30. McNair scrambles right and Smith drops the quarterback for a one yard gain. The Bengals declined a Ravens holding call and the Ravens go three-and-out and the Bengals have the ball again.

Bengals, shutout? Nah. Nice PUNT RETURN by Chatman for 19 yards.

[6:01] Bengals line up first-and-goal at the Baltimore 8-yard line. Palmer hands off to Rudi nailed for no gain. Second and goal. Palmer throws down the left endzone to Henry. Incomplete. Third down. Palmer drops back and hits Chatman on the right. Chatman is stuffed inside the five-yard line and Bobbie Williams finished off Chatman.

Palmer, where are you in the redzone? Bengals kick 22-yard field goal for a 9-0 lead? In the redzone, the Bengals left 12 points in the redzone. On the bright side, the Bengals ran another 10+ play drive for over 4 minutes. They are doing a good job sustaining drives.

[5:57] Play upheld, Ravens out of challenges. With one wasted and lost, that means you don't get the third for getting two right. I know, it's a stupid rule. All plays should be reviewed by the booth. But, it is what it is. Thankfully, it works out for us.

[5:55] Alright. Bengals have first down at the Cincinnati 45-yard line. Palmer rolls right -- crazy mad pressure -- and hits Rudi in the right flats for two yards. On second-and-eight, Palmer hands off to Rudi Johnson WHO BREAKS FREE for about 15 yards. Play happened because Rudi cut back into a wide open running lane.

After another typical T.J. play -- 6-yard gain -- the Bengals line up second-and-four at the Baltimore 32-yard line. Palmer hands off to Rudi over Andrews for about five yards and the first down. That's 20 yards rushing on the last two carries.

After a tipped pass at the LOS, the Bengals line up second-and-ten at the Baltimore 27-yard line with three receivers in I-Formation and T.J. in the slot on the left. Quick hit to T.J. with a beauty of a block by Henry picks up eight yards. Third-and-two at the 19-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, throws left to Henry on the sidelines. Tip, tip. Beautiful catch! His right foot was in and he dragged his left foot.

Ravens challenge the catch. Another stupid challenge that really nets you nothing.

[5:49] Shayne Graham kicks the ball out of bounds. Well done. Ravens have the ball at the 40-yard line. On first down, McGahee hits the right side of the line and Peko stands him up at the line of scrimmage. Uh-oh. You can't move the ball against the Bengals defense!

On second down, McNair quickly hits Mason on over the left hashmark -- it was a great catch -- setting up a third-and-two at the 48-yard line. The Bengals brought six and McNair quickly hits #87-Williams for a first down.

On the next play, McNair fakes the handoff with Robert Geathers bearing down. McNair got the ball out to Heap for a 10-yard gain. Geathers blew up McNair and the quarterback took his time getting up. McGahee takes the handoff on the next play and runs into his own lineman for minimal gain. On second down, McNair throws a perfect pass to Mason -- again with Geathers bearing down after a killer spin move -- and the receiver juggles the pass. Incomplete.

Third-and-nine at the Cincinnati 36-yard line. McNair rolls out right and starts running. With NEDU in pursuit, McNair loses the ball after the strip picked up by Dexter Jackson to the Cincinnati 45-yard line. Nineteen yards on the return! HELL YEA.

[5:42] The last two drives of the first half (not including a one-play knee to end the half), the Bengals have gone 10 plays each with 52 and 89 yards respectively taking four minutes on each drive. The drive that ended on downs, the Bengals also consumed four minutes. Time of possession and third down conversions are much better.

Analysis.

  • Chris Henry's return is big for the Bengals offense. With 71 yards receiving, Henry's 50-yard reception set up the Bengals second field goal.
  • Running game is lacking with Rudi. Lacking back. Watson got his first hand off about midway through the second quarter. Picked up 13 yards on 4 carries.
  • Bengals defense is doing well, but being helped by McNair -- who is just a shell of his former self. The guy just seems like he's done. Boller in the second half?
  • The Bengals defense is horrible against the run over the middle. The defensive tackles are moving backwards and linebackers aren't filling gaps.
  • Questioning game management: 4th-and-1 at the Baltimore 1-yard line and the Bengals kick a field goal. Obviously hindsight and all that. Still.

Stats, stats, stats.

Palmer: 11/17, 184 yards
McNair: 13/21, 106 yards, INT

Rudi: 6 carries, 0 yards
Watson: 4 carries, 13 yards.
McGahee: 12 carries, 54 yards

Chad: 3 receptions, 62 yards
Henry: 2 receptions, 71 yards
T.J: 2 receptions, 20 yards
Clayton: 5 receptions, 50 yards
Heap: 3 receptions, 28 yards
Mason: 3 receptions, 23 yards

[5:29] Two minute drill. Second-and-six at the Baltimore 42-yard line holding onto two timeouts. Two plays. Two passes to Heap for 22 yards. McNair, on the third play during the two-minute drill, throws deep towards the endzone for an incomplete. Jackson called for illegal chuck. On first-and-ten at the Cincinnati 31-yard line with 1:17 left in the half, McNair completes an eight yard pass to Mason. Ravens call timeout. On the play, Mason broke out of about 3-4 tackles.

Ravens called for false start setting up a second-and-seven at the Cincinnati 28-yard line with 0:52 left in the half. McNair, in shotgun, throws over the middle of the field to Clayton, who picked up five yards after the catch.

On first down, at the Cincinnati 10-yard line, McNair hits Clayton running an in route at the two yard line. Ravens called their final timeout with second-and-goal at the Cincinnati 2-yard line and :29 left. In shotgun, McNair throws an incomplete into the endzone. Heap was the intent and wasn't ready for the pass -- he turned way too late.

Here we go. This is the play of the first half. In shotgun, McNair floats the pass to Heap in the back of the endzone. Jackson tipped the ball up as both he and Heap fell out of the back of the endzone. The football went straight up in the air and LEON HALL PICKED OFF THE PASS. WOW!!!!!!!! WHAT A PLAY BY OUR DEFENSE.

WE SHUT OUT A TEAM IN A FULL HALF.... HOLY FREAKING CRAP.

[5:19] The Ravens run two plays before the two minute warning. The first was an easy, too easy, 11-yard gain by McGahee over the right side. Too easy. A four-yard McNair pass to Clayton heads into the two minute warning.

[5:17] Chris Henry has two receptions for 71 yards receiving in his first game of the season.

[5:15] Still no receptions by T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the Bengals have zero rushing yards.

Bengals set up first down at the Cincinnati 10-yard line. Rudi on the sidelines with a winter cap on. Hum. Jeremi Johnson gets the hand off on first down for about a two-yard gain. Palmer, on second down, hits T.J. quickly on the left (he was in the slot) with a good Chris Henry blocked picking up six yards setting up...

Third and two at the 18-yard line. Watson and Coats in the backfield. Palmer dumps off the pass to Watson -- hook route on the left hashmark. Watson takes the pitch to the left on his first rush attempt on the game and picks up five yards. About time. On second-and-five at the Cincinnati 32-yard line Palmer hits T.J. Then T.J. stands up and starts running his mouth and is called for a delay of game for throwing the ball away. Grow up T.J. Help your team win for pete's sake.

On first down at the Bengals 41-yard line, Palmer drops back and throws deep to the left to Chris HENRY WHO CAUGHT THE OVER-THE-SHOULDER PASS FOR 50 YARDS!!!!!!

On first down at the Baltimore 9-yard line, Watson scrambles up the middle for six yards setting up second-and-goal at the four-yard line. Palmer hands off to Watson over the left guard and fell .00000001 inches short of the goal line.

Third-and-.0000001 inches. Palmer hands off to Kenny Watson and hit in the backfield by Ed Reed blitzing from the Bengals left. Flag on the play for illegal formation -- WR covered TE. Penalty declined. Fourth down.

GO FOR IT. It's fourth-and-one. Bengals go for Field Goal. BS. BS. BS, Marvin.

[5:06] Jackson finally walked off the field. Brad Johansson on Jackson being hit in the man package: "You don't want the training staff to work under there". Dave Lapham: "The man package is important." Johansson: "TMI". Funny. After McNair tossed an incomplete pass to Clayton, the Bengals defense sets up with a third-and-eight at the Cincinnati 43-yard line. Peko blows up McNair who floated a pass -- because of the hit -- to #32-Smith. Hall and Smith made the stop forcing the Ravens to punt. YES, a punt by the other team. I know, I know. Freaking "a" man.

[5:04] Bengals brought Jackson to the line of scrimmage and McNair hit Clayton on a quick hit to the right. One juke and Johnathan Joseph loses his jock-strap. Then the Ravens, on first down, hand off to McGahee for two yards. Dexter Jackson hurt on the play. Looks like he got chucked in the nuts.

[5:01] Ravens line up first down at the Baltimore 21-yard line. After the five yard gain, running again directly at Landon Johnson, it makes me conclude. The Bengals defensive line is getting owned. Landon Johnson is easily blocked, as well as our other linebackers. That's when McGahee ran up the middle for another five yard gain.

Run up the middle every play and we're done for. Can't stop it.

On first down, McGahee ran up the middle for a two-yard gain. Dexter Jackson was in the box and made the stop. Thinking: Dexter Jackson will be the key for the Bengals defense to stopping the rush. That's been the trend thus far. On second-and-eight, McNair, in shotgun, threw to #81-Darling on a crossing pattern. The receiver juggled the pass on his finger tips and lost it. Incomplete.

Third-and-eight at the Baltimore 33-yard line. McNair play fakes and rolls out right hitting Mason about 2 yards past the first down marker for Mason's 23rd first down reception of the season.

[4:53] Bengals line up first down at the Baltimore 18-yard line. Palmer, on play-action, looks to the right and nearly has the pick off on the pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh about two yards deep in the endzone around the front right pylon. Palmer hands off to Rudi Johnson up the middle. About a two yard gain. It seems like the Bengals are close to running the ball well. They are getting hats on players and most of the rush attempts have Ravens unblocked. We're close.

On third-and-eight at the Baltimore 16-yard line, Palmer throws a bit high to Chad Johnson over the middle. It hit the tip of Chad's right hands.

Again, Palmer does NOT do the things necessary to win. And it was an overthrow. The Ravens did nothing special to stop the play. Again, we're kicking field goals when we should be scoring touchdowns in the red-zone. Sorry. Shayne Graham kicks 34-yard field goal to take the lead.

[4:50] On first-and-ten, the Bengals line up with four receivers and Watson in the backfield hitting Chatman on a quick pass picking up five yards. On second-and-five at the Baltimore 35-yard line, Palmer hands off to Rudi Johnson. Two-yard loss. The defense called a blitz and Bart Scott came down hill unblocked. It was a matter of a good defensive call rather than a bad effort at the rush attempt.

Third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 37-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, hits Chad on the left hashmark for 19 yards. The defender dropped Chad on the head and he's woozy. Game stopped to check Chad.

[4:47] Called incomplete. Now it's first and five. Nice challenge, Billick. Idiot.

[4:44] On first-and-ten at the Baltimore 45-yard line, Palmer passes to the right -- on a rollout -- to Chad running a hook route for 10 yards -- tap, tap. Ravens challenge the catch. It was close. Odd that they would risk a challenge on such a minimal play.

Keep in mind, while they review, that the defense was called for defensive holding. So if the play is overturned, the Bengals will still have a first down. So basically all the Ravens would gain is five yards and the Bengals would have first down no matter what.

[4:42] The Bengals have three passing plays of 20 yards or more. Time to get Kenny Watson some carries. Rudi, with no run, just isn't making anything happen. Granted, it's hard when the Ravens defense blows up the running lanes.

[4:40] If you're keeping track, that's three fourth downs attempted in the first quarter. On first down, Palmer drops back against heavy Baltimore blitz. Throwing on his back foot, Palmer short arms the pass skipping the football to Chad for an incomplete. After a massive 3-yard gain by Rudi, the Bengals line up at the Cincinnati 35-yard line on third-and-seven. Rudi Johnson in on third down. Palmer, in shotgun, throws over the middle of the field to Chad Johnson -- running a crossing pattern from left to right -- for 20 yards. NICE!

[4:35] Fourth-and-one at the Cincinnati 40-yard line. The Ravens line up in shotgun with three receiver. McNair hits Todd Heap on the left about six yards off the line of scrimmage -- hook route. Too easy.

On the next play, McNair faked the hand off and rolled out right. Robert Geathers quickly tracked down McNair forcing the early throw and incomplete. After McGahee picked up seven yards on another isolation play directly at Landon Johnson -- who played it horribly. Third-and-four at the Cincinnati 28-yard line. McNair pitches to the right to McGahee who appeared likely to throw it. He pulled it down and Landon dropped McGahee for a four-yard loss. The Ravens going for it on fourth down. McNair drops back and goes for it all into the end-zone. Deltha O'Neal forces the incomplete pass. BENGALS BALL.

That's two fourth downs on this drive. One converted, one incomplete.

[4:30] Ravens line up at the Baltimore 41-yard line to start their drive. Bengals, on the first down run by McGahee, brought eight into the box. McGahee picked up two yards. Not bringing eight in the box on second down, McGahee ran directly at Landon Johnson, picked up by the guard, and picked up eight yards and the first down. McGahee runs for the third straight time and Dexter Jackson flew into the line and dropped the running back. Well done. The Bengals again brought eight into the box. On second-and-nine, McNair throws to the right right with Madieu Williams blitzing. The completed pass to #37-McClain picked up five yards setting up...

Third-and-five at the Cincinnati 44-yard line. The Bengals brought six -- Dhani Jones brought a lot of pressure -- completing the pass to #85-Mason for a four yard pickup. The Ravens are going for it on fourth and one lining up big.

[4:25] Still going for it. Bengals line up with fourth-and-seven at the Baltimore 34-yard line. In shotgun, Palmer drops back and gets hit with tons and tons of pressure. Bengals just couldn't block the Ravens defense straight-up. The Ravens only brought four guys with seven in coverage. The ball was fumbled, picked up by Bobbie Williams. Ravens have the ball. Corey Ivy hurt on the play after trying to tackle big Bobbie.

[4:23] With first-and-15 at the Baltimore 42-yard line, Rudi Johnson is stuffed up the middle for a three-yard loss. Rudi Johnson has three rushes for -3 yards. After an incomplete pass from heavy pressure on the left side of the line, Palmer in shotgun, sets up third-and-18. Palmer drops the pas to Watson on a screen to the left for 11 yards.

Bengals line up with fourth-and-7 at the Baltimore 34-yard line. LETS GO! Love this call. What do we have to lose? The game? Perhaps.

[4:18] On first down, Rudi gets the ball and runs into the back of Andrew Whitworth -- who was knocked backwards about 3-4 yards by #92-Ngata -- who made the tackle. On second-and-ten, Palmer throws over the middle. The ball was tapped at the line of scrimmage. #97 kicked the ball after the play giving the Bengals five yards on the defensive play of the game.

On third-and-five at the Cincinnati 19-yard line, Palmer dropped back and hit Chad Johnson on the left. Chad ran a seam and then floated out in a wide open area of the zone picking up 23 yards. Nice. Then Rudi Johnson false starts. Not a great start by our boy Rudi.

First-and-15 at the Cincinnati 42-yard line, Palmer drops back and throws over the middle to a wide open Chris Henry splitting the cover-two zone for 21 yards. Then Levi Jones false starts.

Palmer now has 13,000 career passing yards.

[4:14] After a three-yard McGahee run, McNair throws an incomplete pass to Clayton that was broken up by Hall. Actually, it was nearly picked off. That set up a third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 45-yard line. McNair threw the pass to the right to Clayton on a hook route that was a bit low. Ravens punt.

[4:10] O'Neal, dealing with a knee problems, allows Hall to start this week. On the first play by the Ravens, McNair completes a nine-yard pass to Clayton on the right -- Joseph covering. On second-and-one, McGahee flies through a wide-open hole in the middle for a 13 yard gain. The defensive tackles owned on the first first-down recorded of the game.

[4:08] After a quick pass to Coats on the right -- running into the flats -- Coats tip toes down the sidelines. First run of the game, Rudi runs into a pile of bodies for no gain. Then the Bengals set up in shotgun on third-and-four. Palmer looks right and throws about 25 yards deep to the right to Chad Johnson. #35-Ivy slaps the pass away. Bengals go three-and-out on the first drive of the game.

[4:05] Bengals are wearing white shirts on black pants. They are 6-6 on that combination.

[4:02] Coin toss. Bengals call tails and win the toss. They will receive.

Penalties

  • Rudi Johnson, false start.
  • Levi Jones, false start.
  • Dexter Jackson, illegal contact
  • Blue Adams, hit below the waist on kickoff, 15 yards.

Turnovers (Bengals, +5)

  • Bengals, turnover on downs on the second possession. No points off turnover.
  • Ravens, turnover on downs.
  • Leon Hall intercepts pass to close out first half.
  • Dexter Jackson recovers McNair fumble -- caused by Nedu.
  • Willie McGahee fumbles. Forced and recovered by Frostee.
  • No one recovers kickoff for Ravens. Marvin White recovers.
  • Nedu picks off Kyle Boller pass.

Scoring

  • Shayne Graham kicks 34-yard field goal (Bengals, 3-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 19-yard field goal (Bengals, 6-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 22-yard field goal (Bengals, 9-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 35-yard field goal (Bengals, 12-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 35-yard field goal (Bengals, 15-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 21-yard field goal (Bengals, 18-0)
  • Shayne Graham kicks 33-yard field goal (Bengals, 21-0)
  • McGahee runs for a one-yard touchdown (Bengals, 21-7)

[3:53] Alright, we're prepping for game time. Get your jerseys on, we're close to kickoff. If you're passing by with the Bengals game on the tube, drop a note here and praise, complain, cheer, jeer or grumble. Whatever you do.

[3:43] A couple of NFL observations. The Pittsburgh Steelers took the lead, 24-21 with 11:32 left in the fourth quarter. Josh Cribbs then took the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to retake the lead 28-24. Priest Holmes' return with ten minutes left in the game: 20 carries, 65 yards and two receptions for 19 yards. Not a bad return. The Packers are shutting out Peterson and the Vikings, 34-0. Peterson's follow-up to his record breaking performance last week: 11 carries, 45 yards rushing. He left the game after an 11 yard reception in the third quarter due to injury. Marc Bulger (27/33, 302 yards, 2 TDs) is leading the Rams to an eventual victory over the Saints with seven minutes left and a 34-15 lead.

[3:35] Rexx (Baltimore Beatdown blogger) says the biggest key today's game is the injuries suffered in the Ravens secondary. He says, "...regardless of McNair's play today, the secondary's effort and injuries are the key to the game. With those guys, the Ravens beat the Bengals 23-17. Without them, Cincinnati gets their first win on the road and writes another chapter in the Ravens horribly disappointing and embarrassing season."

A quick thought, the Bengals best game of the season, to me at least, is the 27-20 win during the first week of the season. Doesn't that seem like six months ago?

[3:27] There's nothing better than November thunderstorms in Cincinnati.

[3:27] Some observations. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, of any player on the team, is the most likely to have a broadcasting career at retirement. The Ohio State Buckeyes dropped to seventh in the AP poll after last night's loss. The Buckeyes just can't defend spread offenses -- Illinois and Florida the most visible of the last two losses by the Bucks. The loss snapped a 28-game regular season winning streak. After beating #13 UConn, if the University of Cincinnati beats West Virginia and Syracuse to close the season, they will earn a trip to a BCS bowl game.

[3:17] Alan Cutler has some good stats. Since 2000, the Ravens are 45-14 at home -- #1 in NFL. When trailing at the half, the Marvin Lewis Bengals are 7-25. Brian Billick led teams are 15-42 trailing at the half.

[3:08] Out for the Ravens. Both Chris "not-related-to-Lance" McAlister and Samari Rolle are out -- as is DBs David Pittman and Gerome Sapp. They are hurting in the secondary, big time, with four guys out. Todd Heap will start, but backup tight end, Daniel Wilcox is out.

[2:55] Upsets? Half-way through the third quarter, the Saints are losing 7-20 to the winless St. Louis Rams. Also, Derek Anderson's three touchdown passes have given the Browns a 21-9 lead over the Steelers to start the second half. An odd score, the Bills are losing to the Dolphins, 2-3.

[2:50] Geoff Hobson wrote a good piece featuring local boy and World Series winner, Kevin Youkilis. Who, in his quotes, displays a good amount of Bengals knowledge. It's not like most non-football athletes or celebrities that just ran on the bandwagon during the Bengals up-swing days (2003-2005). And I'm sure Hobson interviewed the Boston Red Sox player with complete glee.

The Sycamore grad also sat down with channel 12 in this video.

[2:40 -- Personnel Update] Kelly and Thornton OUT, Hall starts over O'Neal (coach's decision)
For the Bengals, starting tight end Reggie Kelly (knee), safety Herana-Daze Jones (knee), defensive tackle John Thornton (neck), linebacker Anthony Schlegel (back), right tackle Willie Anderson (knee), linebacker Caleb Miller (back) and offensive lineman Dan Santucci are inactive.
[Mark Curnutte's Blog]

[2:30 -- Points off turnover]. I jotted the stats while researching drives against our beloved defense. The Bengals have committed a total of 17 turnovers -- 10 interceptions, six lost fumbles and one turnover on downs. Those 17 turnover have led to 27 points -- 20 directly from Palmer's interceptions. Rudi Johnson's fumble against Cleveland was the only points (touchdown) allowed after a lost fumble.

Keep in mind, these are not official stats, but they're pretty close. I examined each drive chart, how they turned it over and what the opposing team did with the turnover. If I'm off on either the drive stats below or the points off turnover, please let us know.

[2:20 -- Bengals defense] We know how the Bengals defense does. We know they are wonderfully disappointing. But I had a thought the other day. A thought I was hoping would reward optimistic numbers. How does the Bengals defense do after the offense punts. What's the percentage of teams scoring after the Bengals offense punts, rather than turns it over. Let's examine.

First of all, opposing offenses have 94 total drives for the season. Of those drives, 44 have resulted in scores (26 touchdowns, 18 field goals). The Bengals have forced 25 punts, nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, one safety and forced one turnover on downs. Six teams have knelt at least once.

In other words, the Bengals allow the opposing team to score 47% of the time -- 28% result in touchdown.

On 34 punts by Kyle Larson, opposing offenses have scored 16 times (10 touchdowns, 6 field goals). The defense has forced seven punts, six interceptions and three fumbles.

In other words, the Bengals defense, after the offense punts, allows a score on 47% of the time -- 29% result in touchdowns.

[12:50] I'll be here throughout the day leading up to kickoff at 4:05 (join me). First thing I wanted to bring up is the starting lineup (below). Typically, I'll try to project the starting lineups.

With Landon Johnson moving to middle linebacker for the injured Schlegel, I'm not sure if they'll put Dhani Jones or Rashad Jeanty at weak-side backer. Jeanty has played strong-side during most of his Cincinnati career making me think that Dhani could get the start. If the team holds consistency, then Stacy Andrews should get the start for Willie Anderson at right tackle.

With John Thornton doubtful, having missed time recently, I put Myers and Thornton at defensive tackle. If Thornton can't go, then Myers will likely get the start.

Here's an interesting one. Probably me out-thinking myself. But if Reggie Kelly can't go, would the team start with three receivers by starting Chris Henry? Or would they start Coats at tight end and start Henry anyway in single-back formation. It really doesn't matter anyway because everyone will get their playing time. Just wondering...

Inactive/Out: T Willie Anderson (knee), LB Caleb Miller (back), LB Anthony Schlegel (back), LB Ahmad Brooks (groin). Brooks finally placed on IR this week.

Doubtful: DT John Thornton (neck), TE Reggie Kelly (knee), S Herana-Daze Jones (knee)

Personnel Update: Kelly and Thornton OUT, Hall starts over O'Neal (coach's decision)
For the Bengals, starting tight end Reggie Kelly (knee), safety Herana-Daze Jones (knee), defensive tackle John Thornton (neck), linebacker Anthony Schlegel (back), right tackle Willie Anderson (knee), linebacker Caleb Miller (back) and offensive lineman Dan Santucci are inactive.
[Mark Curnutte's Blog]
Also, Bengals.com

Uniform: White.

Weather: Mostly Sunny. High 50F. Winds, light and variable[Weather.com]

Who's watching? As per this NFL distribution map.

Starters:

(D, Doubtful... Q, Questionable)

POS. Projected
QB Palmer
RB R.Johnson
FB J.Johnson
WR C. Johnson
WR Houshmandzadeh
TE Coats
LT Jones
LG Whitworth
C Ghiaciuc
RG Williams
RT Andrews
   
POS D
LE Robinson
DT Peko
DT Myers
RE Smith
WB D.Jones
MB L.Johnson
SB R.Geathers
SS Jackson
FS Williams
CB Joseph
CB Hall
X
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