I'm among the crowd that believes the defense didn't play that bad early-- most the late rushing success was the result of 43 second-half plays by the Baltimore Ravens offense, and only 18 second-half plays; inability to sustain a drive by our offense does take a toll.
If you take away the 42-yard reverse and the Joe Flacco 38-yard run, the Bengals still allowed 149 yards rushing -- including 56 yards on the 7:15 to end the game. It should also be noted that the Bengals rush defense only allowed 20 yards, on eight attempts that included a six and four yard loss, in the two drives before the 7:15 drive to end the game.
So, let's take away the 42-yard reverse, the 38-yard Joe Flacco run and the 56 yards rushing on the final drive of the game. Now we're down to 93 yards rushing for the Ravens offense, on 34 carries. That's a Rudi Johnson like, 2.7 yards per carry. Defensively, the Bengals dropped the Ravens, four times, behind the line of scrimmage on rushing plays; a total of 20 yards lost.
But that's football. You can't take away big plays, or game ending sustaining drives to fluff a point about the Bengals rush defense. However, I will maintain that it wasn't the Bengals defense that lost us the game. The offense truly "sucked", giving the defense absolutely no chance to force the Ravens to punt towards the end of the game; their heads were down, with hands on hips, taking massive huffs of oxygen.
Note: James Walker, like Tiki Barber, the so-called experts, do the same thing that novice fans do. Look at the stat sheet, reflect on the stats, and speak about what the stats tell them rather than accumulating all the means that made that end. Ah, who cares. We looked like crap losing a football game. What does it matter, at this point, how they lost. Most fans have already lost hope for the season after a miserable preseason and a frustrating first game; and the Bengals themselves look like a team that's done. Done, I tell you.
One of the most frustrating things with the offense Sunday afternoon, was that Chris Perry mimicked typical Rudi Johnson results. It makes you wonder if it was ever Rudi's degradation, or just a bad offensive line. I have no love for Eric Ghiaciuc, think that Andrew Whitworth is a good tackle ( with more playing time, could be tremendous, if not better than Andrews), but an average guard and think that Stacy Andrews is paid $7 million more than he's proven to be worth (aka, he's here because of his potential, still).
Take note of this little "fun fact". Of Rudi Johnson's games in which he carried the ball 18 times or more (same as Perry on Sunday), Rudi's longest rushing gains-per-game were 15 (against Baltimore), 20, 15 (against Baltimore), 10, and 22.
Except for the play of Johnathan Joseph, Pragmatic doesn't think that the Bengals defense was that good.
Clark Judge accurately says that one "week Cincinnati releases Deltha O'Neal; the next he's making the game-saving play for New England. That tells you something about both franchises."
Peter Kings says of Carson Palmer: "I think I'm starting to think Carson Palmer belongs in Jay Cutlerville. He hasn't been a commanding presence on the field for some time, I'd say going back to mid-2006, and I'm hard-pressed to think of him in the same league with the top five or six quarterbacks. I did put him there in my top 50 in the SI NFL Preview issue, but after watching him Sunday, I almost wish I could have that one back."
Jim Morris says that the Bengals season is already done.
All 11 teams in the Big Ten won this weekend.
The Buckeyes dropped two spots in the polls, and are now 10.5 underdogs against the Trojans this weekend.
Speaking of USC/OSU, this Matt Hinton piece is, actually, a little fun.
Matt Miller raised the stock of Bearcats cornerback Mike Mickens, who could be a first day pick when he enters the NFL draft (if not a first-round pick).
Bill Koch wonders if now is a good time to start giving Demetrius Jones (the transfer from Notre Dame) some playing time.
Don't expect Dustin Grutza for at least another four weeks, says Bearcats trainer, "It would take and act of God for him to come back in three weeks."
After the 52-26 loss to the Sooners, Brian Kelly isn't phased (one bit). "What this shows is that we've got some more work to do defensively. We haven't arrived there yet." Kelly later says, "You're going to think I'm crazy, but I think we can play with the very best." Dude, Brian's crazy.