Boomer Esiason said after Chad Johnson's touchdown that cost the Bengals 15 yards with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during half-time: "...completely unwarranted" and it "makes Marvin Lewis and everything look bad in Cincinnati."
Note to Boomer. Please, pull out notes from this city's reaction last week. Or most of the year for that matter. The entire Bengals fanbase is so down on the Bengals, including the ridiculously embarrassing team that's told widespread among the national media (you), that any pulse from this team is welcome. This doesn't look bad. The team showed a bit of life that we've desperately needed all season long. I'll give up the 15 yards and three points if it means this team shows life again. In the post-game, James Brown and Boomer even used the word "professionalism". The funny thing is that they harped and harped on it AFTER the Bengals won. A very odd reaction considering the known circumstances this team has dealt with all season.
How about talking about the Bengals defense shutting out the style of quarterback that's always given the Bengals fits? How about the Bengals defense that allowed only 61 yards rushing? How about Carson Palmer attempting 38 passes and completing 84% of them? How about the Bengals rush offense rejoining the ranks of the effective? How about the good special teams coverage?
It's almost like the Cincinnati-pride that Boomer illuminates betrayed his sense of complete Bengals criticism. You must complain about something. That's the typical Cincinnati reaction with the Bengals no matter what they do.
Boomer even went on to say, that this will be all that's going to be talked about this week. I guess he figured he'd get a good start using nearly two full minutes explaining why other networks will be showing the celebration. But in Cincinnati, we're celebrating. Dan Marino, of all people, was the voice of reason. It didn't hurt them and Cincinnati's offense was as flawless as flawless gets. Even so, Boomer attacked Chad's celebration without mentioning a single positive with the win.
I love Boomer. I really do. But, shut up. I actually found myself laughing at Boomer while he was gripping -- dare I say, whining -- about Chad's celebration. It was these antics that gave life to the Bengals in the first place back in 2003 that you, yourself, loved. Bill Cowher agreed with Boomer's assessment saying to Chad, "You just don't get it, kid." Not that it matters what they "assess" on CBS during this rosy glass filled Sunny day. And it speaks measures when Marvin Lewis smiled and congratulated Chad coming off the field. It was like the weight of Cincinnati floated off their shoulders. At least for this week.
All I have to say is: Welcome back Chad. But it begs the question if either Boomer or Cowher "get it". Well, no one has really "gotten" it when it comes to Cincinnati and the Bengals. We're in our own world and this invasion of privacy telling us how the world conforms is a bit annoying.
531: Speaking of Chad Johnson. With 6:36 left in the second quarter, Chad Johnson caught his 531st pass of his career to become the all-time franchise receptions leader. Congrats Chad. I'm honored to actually say that I've seen every single one of those receptions. But that's just reference of time passing with knees cracking louder than Boomer's whining about Chad's celebration. God, I can't get over that for some reason.
Speaking of Chad II: The situation was first-and-10 at the Cincinnati 47-yard line. Palmer dropped back and completed a 21-yard pass to Chad Johnson with 2:37 left in the third quarter. But here's the best part. Titans' DB #22-Fuller had a beat on the comeback route finding himself in prime position to pick the pass. Instead Chad says, "that's mine." He comes back towards the football and snags the potential Fuller interception for a 21-yard gain giving Chad 11 receptions and 100 yards receiving. First down. It's the effort that had me beating my chest on what would become a routine first down pass Sunday. Yet, Boomer... forget it.
Speaking of Chad III: Boomer and Cowher, take note. While the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty hurt the team with 15 yards putting the Titans' in decent field position for their final field goal -- and final points of the day -- the Bengals receiver caught 12 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Boomer and Cowher, I'll take that tradeoff anytime.
Note: On Chad's second touchdown, he bumped the chest of his offensive linemen. Does he get it now, Bill?
Jeanty/D.Jones: I really don't have examples for you on this one. But it just felt like Dhani Jones and Rashad Jeanty were everywhere.
The Offensive Line. Willie Anderson called them out this week. The line responded Sunday. Carson Palmer's jersey was relatively clean after being sacked once -- even so, the sack was the result of good coverage. Palmer took a three step drop and found all his reads covered. He drifted right and started to sprint upfield when #93-Bosch worked off Levi Jones recording the sack. In reality, the sack happened only after all options were exhausted by Palmer.
But pass protection wasn't the problem that Willie Anderson was speaking on. It was the rush offense. Rudi Johnson, Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey combined for 34 rush attempts for 147 yards rushing (4.3 average).
The Balance: In all, the Bengals offense ran 75 total plays -- 36 rushes, 38 passes. I'm not sure where that one play went in the mysterious underworld of NFL.com's Game Day.
First downs -- does this tell the story?
10 - First downs recorded by the Titans offense (2 rushing, 8 passing)
30 - First downs recorded by the Bengals offense (9 rushing, 19 passing, 2 penalty).
Time of Possession -- or does this tell the story?
38:30 - Bengals
21:30 - Titans
Third Downs -- or does this tell the story?
The Bengals converted 14 of 18 (77%) third downs.
The Titans converted two of 10 (20%) third downs.
We're driving. For a long, long time. One thing that's hurt the Bengals defense more times than not, is how quickly the offense gets off the field. Three-and-out is largely problematic -- for anyone. But so were drives that went 6-7 plays, but only consumed a minute off the clock giving the defense very minimal breathing time. This offense finished drives and took tons of time and plays to do it. We like that. Check out the drive charts and note the time of possession per drive.
Alternatively, look at the results of each Titans' possession: Punt, Interception, Fumble, Field Goal, Field Goal, Punt, Downs, Downs, Punt, End of Game.
Let's point towards Rudi Johnson. He looked good. The blocks were there and his reads were spot-on. While there's plenty of two-three yard gains that some will claim isn't good enough, Rudi did what he's always done best. Pound the ball. With 25 carries, Rudi picked up 88 yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season. It's good to have Rudi again.
My favorite Rudi Johnson play of the game: The situation was third-and-three at the Tennessee 36-yard line. The Bengals have limited success on 2-3 yards to go third down plays. Rudi took the handoff up the middle and powered his way for a 10-yard gain. The Titans had no chance. Boomer still grips about Chad.
The All-Around Kenny Watson. Kenny Watson touched the ball nine times for 49 yards -- including five receptions for 32 yards. Might not seem like much. But it's exactly what he does best. On Sunday, Watson was a great hot-read for Palmer in the flats. His change-of-pace rushing picked up his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Thanks to the offensive line.
DeDe Dorsey: Four rushes for 41 yards including a 21-yard gain on a pitch to the right breaking at least three tackles. #53-Bulluck was called for a personal foul facemask (honestly, I didn't see it) giving the Bengals 36 yards on one play. Dorsey also recorded a tackle on special teams (kickoff).
Another. You know, when I saw the play, I didn't expect a fair catch interference penalty. After Chatman called for a fair catch, #57-Scanlon wrapped his arms around Chatman and padded him on the back. The refs called interference. It's cool that we got the call -- we never get calls like that -- but I would understand a Titans fan's frustration.
Did He Just Say That? Coming back from commercial, after Marvin Lewis called a timeout to ice the Titans kicker right before the half, we hear Steve Beuerlein say "USC thugs". He could have said something else, but I'm pretty sure he said thugs. Beuerlein obviously holds no love for the Trojans playing quarterback for Notre Dame. Just because the internet is great, here's "The Sack".
I'm not sure if LenDale White came back after his "thug" like reaction right before half-time kicking Marvin White after White hit White out of bounds. Got it? Ha!
You Know Things Are Going Well... when Marvin Lewis wins a challenge. The play in question was a three-yard Chris Brown touchdown with 8:31 left in the game. Brown took the handoff up the middle when his knee hit the ground at the half-yard mark. Then...
You Know Things Are Going Well... when the Bengals defense stuffs Chris Brown on 3rd-and-goal at the half-yard mark.
You Know Things Are Going Well... when the Bengals defense forces an incomplete on 4th-and-goal at the half-yard mark.
You Know Things Are Going Well... when the Titans get to the Red-Zone five times and do not score a touchdown. Sticking to the same theme, the Bengals offense scored five touchdowns in six red-zone appearances. Shayne Graham missed a 26-yard field goal breaking a streak of 21-straight made.
It was scary for a moment. After Graham missed the short field goal, Vince Young connected with #12-Gage for a 73-yard completion on the very next play. Touchdown? I suppose it could have been if Gage didn't tip-toe out of bounds at the Cincinnati seven-yard line. After Brown picked up four yards, Dhani Jones comes off the edge on a pass rush, unblocked, knocking the football out of Young's hands. Rashad Jeanty picked up the fumble. No points. The play happened because the Bengals secondary closed Young's initial reads on a quick three-step drop.
Palmer's near perfect day. Even the interception wasn't truly his fault. The pass was a bit high intended for Chris Henry on third-and-seven with 10:43 left in the second quarter. Henry tipped the pass and #37-Lowry came away with the football. It's the same thing in professional football with most tipped passes. There's usually always a defender sitting back specifically for the tipped pass.
For the day, Palmer completed 32 of 38 passes for 283 yards and three scores giving him a 113 passer rating. I think we can finally put to rest the Palmer talk we've had the past few weeks. He's proven, with the quality of a supporting cast, that he can lead and win football games for the Bengals.
Palmer completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 83 yards. On the first four touchdown drives, Palmer completed 19 of 20 passes for 177 yards and two scores.
Hiya Kyle. We didn't see or hear of Kyle Larson until there was 6:10 left in the game. Larson, inside his own end-zone, netted a 58-yard punt after a hold was called on the Titans. It was a 48-yard punt and 10-yard penalty.
Ol' Reggie: Great game by our tight end. The evil unknowns of quality blocking isn't something that jumps out at you -- his blocks were as crisp as always. He tied a season-high three receptions for 35 yards including a season-high 26 yard reception down the middle of the field. Kelly and Daniel Coats combined for four receptions for 41 yards.
Examining the receivers: The Bengals Big-Three (Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry) combined for 22 of Palmer's 32 completions for 210 yards receiving.
The Rest: Reggie Kelly, Kenny Watson, Daniel Coats and DeDe Dorsey combined for 10 receptions and 73 yards receiving. It's the "rest" that's unusual. The Bengals offense rarely goes outside the three receivers. The fact they did, I'm sure, has a big bearing on the Bengals efficient as hell offense.
166: With 6:44 left in the third quarter, the Titans offense recorded 166 total yards. Why note this? Because the Bengals were up 28-6 and this starts what's called "garbage time". The period in the game that the defense looks to defend big plays rather than all plays.
The JJ Pick: Early in the game, Vince Young lined the Titans up third-and-six. #80-Scaife lined up slot to the left. At the snap, the tight end sprinted up then out towards the left sidelines. The receiver flanked left simply ran a seam route. Johnathan Joseph played the route as if he were playing man when he jumped Scaife's out route -- it was a zone defense. Young never saw him. Joseph was in direct path of the ball appearing as if he were the intended receiver. A few tips, Joseph came away with the pick.
Charting Trends: With seven receptions for 66 yards receiving, Houshmandzadeh is on pace for 121 receptions for the season -- third best in NFL history.
Players of the Game - I'm giving this to our offensive line. The Bengals rushed the ball with big gaps giving our backs over four yards a pop. Palmer had time with the offensive line picking up the Titans blitzes all day.
Next -- Cincinnati heads to Pittsburgh for Sunday Night Football next week. I have to say, this game should give Cincinnati a lot of momentum after playing their best, all-around game of the season in every aspect and position of the game.