The hangover is unbearable... also taking a look around NFL SB Nation

I have to say, I have some of the best readers -- all five you. Kudos. Most of the comments here and the emails -- bunches -- I've received have all had that calming criticism of the team rather than the over-reaction death to Spartacus theme. And no, the context of using Spartacus here really doesn't make sense. Unless you're apart of the Anti-Spartacus league, but that makes even less sense. So perhaps I just don't know. Who knows? I don't know. Surely the Bengals defense hasn't a clue. But hey, the Bengals only lost by six points. So there's some positive reinforcement for you. Right? Hello? Damn crickets.

This is basically a random musing post about the NFL, SB Nation and the Bengals.

Want to take a guess at who's tied for the lead for most receptions in the NFL? No. Not Chad Johnson. Tied with Randy Moss and Javon Walker, T.J. Houshmandzadeh has recorded 17 receptions for the season with only two teams left to finish week #2. And unless Antwaan Randle El has 12 receptions or Brian Westbrook has 11 receptions, the leaders remain heading into week #3. Chad with 16 receptions, is tied with Antonio Gates for fourth. Chad (304 yards) leads Randy Moss (288) for most receiving yards. Chad also leads the league with most 20+ yard plays (7) and most first down conversions (15). A staggering 93.8% of Chad's total receptions are first downs.

What you might not know, is what you should know, knowing that you know what's known. There were 13 100-yard receivers in week #2. They were

  1. Chad Johnson (Bengals): 209 yards
  2. Jerricho Cotchery (Jets): 165 yards
  3. Steve Smith (Panthers): 153 yards
  4. Braylon Edwards (Browns): 146 yards
  5. Isaac Bruce (Rams): 145 yards
  6. Joey Galloway (Bucs): 135 yards
  7. Deion Branch (Seahawks): 122 yards
  8. Andre Johnson (Texans): 120 yards
  9. Roy Williams (Lions): 111 yards
  10. Chris Chambers (Dolphins): 109 yards
  11. Randy Moss (Patriots): 105 yards
  12. Javon Walker (Broncos): 101 yards
  13. Kellen Winslow (Browns): 100 yards

Four of the top five -- and five of the top seven -- receiving leaders played on teams that lost.

There were seven 100-yard rushers. They were:

  1. Jamal Lewis (Ravens): 216 yards
  2. LaMont Jordan (Raiders): 159 yards
  3. Travis Henry (Broncos): 128 yards
  4. Edgerrin James (Cards): 128 yards
  5. Willie Parker (Steelers): 126 yards
  6. Rudi Johnson (Bengals): 118 yards
  7. Cedric Benson (Bears): 101 yards

Of all the 100-yard rushers, only two were on losing teams: Rudi and LaMont Jordan. So what you should know is that steroid pumped running back numbers are far more likely to win football games. The more you pass, the more likely you're losing.

Rushing yards by the fantasy kings. A quick note here. I was questioned for taking Peyton Manning #2 in the SB Nation draft. Hooray for 1 TD, 1 INT performance. Note II: Eric, you're welcome.

LaDainian Tomlinson: 68 total rushing yards (on 35 attempts)
Larry Johnson: 98 total rushing yards (on 26 attempts)
Steven Jackson: 118 total rushing yards (on 39 attempts)

There's 39 running backs with more yardage than Tomlinson -- last year's manly man. Combined, Tomlinson, Johnson and Jackson have 284 yards rushing. Travis Henry leads the NFL with 267 total rushing yards. Come to think of it, did either of them have a preseason snap?

Some comments I've read through the net and responses.

Why didn't Marvin Lewis challenge the play where Edwards was clearly short of the line? I too questioned this, at the time. The team had one available timeout and only used (and lost) one challenge. It was third-and-eight at the Cleveland-36. The Browns needed to reach the 44-yard line to convert the first down. If the Bengals prevented the conversion, the offense would have over three minutes for their final drive -- instead of one full minute.

Derek Anderson completed the pass to Braylon Edwards who turned upfield for, at best, seven yards. Edwards, stuffed by Miller and Dexter Jackson -- if the first down line used by CBS is any indicator, taking the assumption of where the ball in Edwards' hands -- never makes the first down marker. And I know, the CBS line isn't the be-all first down marker. So it could have been off. And that's not the only play of the game. But...

So why didn't Marvin challenge the spot?

As per the CBS crew, you can not challenge the spot of the ball if the play is ruled forward progress. If the ball carrier was down by contact, then it's challengeable. Plays ending with forward progress are not challengeable. You might not like the NFL rule, but there's nothing that Marvin Lewis could have done. Sometimes you just don't get the football to bounce your way.

Mine: My biggest question was not go for it on fourth-and-one at the Cleveland two-yard line? Armchair quarterback with perfect hindsight vision, check. On that drive, Rudi Johnson ran twice for 22 yards (14, 8). A touchdown would have given the Bengals a one-point lead. And think about it, if the Bengals scored a touchdown rather than a field goal the Bengals are only down by two points on their final drive. Didn't they know that? Why not go for it? What do you have to lose? The game?

Marvin Lewis take up defensive play calling? I seriously doubt it. Why would Lewis put his own name in the fire? Lewis still has the scapegoats with defensive coordinators keeping his hands clean. Furthermore, what could he bring to the table that he's not already demanding the coach bring?

Name calling. Team game, check. Got it. But Caleb Miller took a lot of bad first steps. He was routinely fooled on play action and counters. This is our middle linebacker. The former Frodo hair-styling hobbit just didn't get it done.

Fire, Fire, BRIMSTONE. Obviously firing Head Coach, Marvin Lewis, is the answer. It's so obvious. The line of head coaches out of a job are around the block. The same head coaches that are, well, out of a job for a REASON! And do we really want this front office to make franchise altering decisions? Think about it. Think about it long and hard.

The pro-Lewis faction will draw back on emotions. Remember, we once sucked. Marvin turned us into mediocre and even a playoff team. I think both are wrong. I think both should realize we are where we are and it is what it is. Lewis changed the complexion of this franchise and he's installed a defense that's suspect, at best.

What are others saying?

"The entire Cincinnati defense. For a multitude of sins. For allowing the moribund Browns to score 51 points. For allowing 41 points and 365 total yards in the first 39 minutes. For not touching Lewis on a 66-yard touchdown run. For making Anderson look better than Kenny Anderson. Just a ridiculous performance by a unit that will doom this playoff contender to also-random."
- Peter King

"It was not a hold. The defender was just overpowered."
- Ed Hochuli on Sunday Night football between the Pats and the Chargers. Only Hochuli could say such a thing considering he's bigger than half the linebackers in the league.

Around the NFL -- well, the SB Nation really.

Tonight: Redskins at Eagles.

There. Every NFL blog on SB Nation gets a mention. If I missed any, sorry. I probably closed my awesome Firefox Tabbed window by accident. Good reads.

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