At Cincy Jungle, we wanted to commemorate 2010 with a look back on the year with our Top-20 Moments of 2010. Be warned, this isn't a list called the "20 Greatest Moments of 2010". With a team that's 4-11, you should expect some moments that will be tough rough to relive. But relive you will, because these moments are what made 2010.
|#20 Bengals Dominate Michael Vick In Preseason Game|
Michael Vick is often mentioned by experts as having an MVP-caliber season. Well, at least a share of the award because how can any one with a conscience pick Michael Vick over Tom Brady, who hasn't thrown an interception in his past 319 pass attempts and thrown 34 touchdowns? Even though an MVP award might be a bit of an over-reaction, like people with the moral compass of a toad actually caring that Brett Favre sent what-seemed-like drunk texts to a hot brunette, Vick is having a tremendous season.
Yet, when the Bengals shouted Who Dey in the defensive huddle, Michael Vick was as effective as a right hand turn during a NASCAR race. Instead of the "MVP" performing quarterback we've seen this year, Vick completed only one of five passes for six yards. In fact, Vick completed more passes to the Bengals than he did his own teammates. As we call that in the video game world, "you got PWNED."
The Bengals beat the Philadelphia Eagles to win their second preseason game of the year 22-9, thanks to a three-interception performance by cornerback Morgan Trent and quarterback sacks by Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Johnson.
|#19 Shayne Graham Leaves And The Bengals Have Three Kickers In One Season|
Shayne Graham, the Bengals place kicker for eight seasons and the team's 2009 Franchise player, holds several team records and if it weren't for Jim Breech, Graham would be Cincinnati's all-time point-scorer. However, after tiring from having having so many crucial kicks missed, the Cincinnati Bengals and Graham finally parted ways earlier this year.
The Bengals brought in David Rayner and Mike Nugent to compete for the job during training camp and the preseason. Nugent won it, partly because he made several field goals from 50 yards out. Nugent's season would end after tearing a ligament in his knee during an onside kick against the Indianapolis Colts, making his 78.9% field goal conversion officially worse than any season with Graham. The Bengals signed Aaron Pettrey, who played two games, missed a field goal in each and was promptly released. Somewhere, someone said, "goddamn Buckeye kickers."
By this time, David Rayner made several game-winning (or game-tying) field goals in the waning moments of Lions games that would lead to victories while Shayne Graham has converted all 11 field goal attempts with the New England Patriots. However, Graham has also missed two extra points, so that's kind of funny.
Finally the Bengals picked up a placekicker that actually converts his field goals in Clint Stitser, converting all seven attempts through four games, including four against the Cleveland Browns that largely won the game. However, Stitser's two failed PAT kicks actually has his PAT conversion 22.2 points worse than his perfect field goal percentage. That's not so funny.
|#18 Geno Atkins Records A Sack In Four Straight Preseason Games|
The Bengals fifth pick in the NFL draft, Geno Atkins, was caught by surprise when Cincinnati selected him in April. It's not that he grumbled to his family about playing for the Bengals; it's that the team never approached Atkins for an interview and the defensive tackle had no idea that Cincinnati was even interested. While this might not surprise you, it tends to be a shock to the system of potential employees who are looking for work.
Fans quickly took a liking to Atkins, who recorded at least one quarterback sack through the first four games in the preseason. Atkins has since provided noticeable pressure up the middle, tied for the team lead with 14 quarterback pressures through the first 14 games this season. The rookie defensive tackle also has 2.5 quarterback sacks this season and even made a start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 13.
|#17 Andre Smith's Long Return To Breaking His Foot Again|
Let's recap Andre Smith's karma. In 2009, he holds out as a first round draft pick, making him just like many first round draft picks over the years -- incredibly greedy for someone that's never played a down in the NFL. A few days after signing, he breaks his foot during non-contact drills and spends the first half of the 2009 season rehabilitating his foot. After the season was over, Smith underwent a procedure in February to strengthen his foot. His recovery time, expected for only 10 weeks, meandered into Training Camp, angering Marvin Lewis at Smith's lack of worth ethic to get on the field sooner -- which isn't uncommon because Lewis hates you if you're hurt.
Smith played the first game this year and his playing time gradually increased to the point that he finally became The Man at right tackle, helping the Bengals record a season-high 469 yards of total offense against the Falcons; the most yards in two seasons. Smith would break his foot again during practice on November 10 and was placed on Injured Reserve three days later. When asked if Smith was going to have another foot-strengthening procedure like the one he had in February, Smith recited Hamlet from memory and then ate a bag of Funyuns. What? They're good.
|#16 Bengals Surrender Five Second Half Touchdowns To Buffalo|
Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph just returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Bengals a 28-7 lead with 10:10 remaining in the second quarter. This appeared to be the Bengals first win during their six-game losing streak with at least four moral victories. Yes!
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stephen Johnson connected for three second half touchdowns, Drayton Florence returned a Cedric Benson fumble for a touchdown and Fred Jackson scored the Bills' fifth touchdown of the second half on a 30-yard run late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals would lose another three games before finally winning their third game of the season against the Cleveland Browns.
To make matters worse, Joseph re-injured a high ankle sprain that knocked him out a couple of games earlier in the year, leaving the game and missing two of the next three.
If you needed a summary of the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, look no further than the team's migraine-inducing 49-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Actually, if you needed a summary of the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, then you're just messed up man.
|#15 Pat Sims Jumps Off-Sides Against New Orleans|
The Cincinnati Bengals lost their eighth straight game against the New York Jets on Thanksgiving night. Mounting frustration from Bengals fans had already boiled into pure Jar Jar Binks hatred. Over a week later, the Bengals hosted the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and actually took a three-point lead with 4:25 left in the game on a 47-yard Clint Stitser field goal, who thankfully wasn't forced to attempt a game-tying PAT.
The Saints drove the ball on the ensuing drive, reaching the Bengals seven-yard line, forced to go for it on fourth down with :34 seconds left in the game. At least that's what they'd like for you to believe. The scenario and situation was obvious that the Saints were just trying to draw the Bengals offsides, possibly accepting a delay of game that would give New Orleans a better angle for an upcoming field goal attempt that would send the game into overti... Wait. Did Pat Sims just jump? Drew Brees hits Marques Colston on a three-yard touchdown and the Saints win.
Yep. Pat Sims actually jumped. Andre Smith offers Sims some Funyuns.
|#14 Bengals Draft Play-Maker Tight End In Jermaine Gresham|
The Bengals drafting Jermaine Gresham wasn't a slam dunk leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft. The Bengals needed help at safety and the issue of a pass rusher was an issue that needed to be addressed. This didn't include the desperate need to revamp and redevelop the team's wide receiver core and maybe, just maybe, draft an offensive lineman rather than having a majority of your starters signed after the draft because no one believed they were even worth a seventh round pick. Now that puts it in perspective, doesn't it?
In the end, the Bengals drafted Jermaine Gresham and all he did was set a franchise record for receptions by a Bengals rookie tight end. The sky is literally the limit for Gresham, who Reggie Kelly said will be one of the best overall tight ends in the NFL. And when Reggie Kelly speaks, you can't help but listen to the man.
|#13 Bengals Sign Adam "Pacman" Jones|
In May, the Bengals took the uncharacteristic route of signing a player that no other team wanted due to a history of off the field conduct. Adam Jones joined the Bengals and spent much of the offseason laying low, talking about redemption with the intention of killing his nickname "Pacman". Jones eventually did just that, quietly working with the team to redevelop the skills that once made him an impact player.
Jones' season would end when he was placed on Injured Reserve with a herniated disc against the Atlanta Falcons in late October. Finishing the season with 13 tackles, an interception, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, Jones convinced the Bengals, the media and the fans that he was a man worthy of a second chance. After all, he was only arrested once and that the result of mistaken identity. Baby steps.
|#12 Andrew Whitworth Catches A Touchdown Pass|
During the second meeting between the Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati took the game's opening drive to the Steelers one-yard line. Domata Peko lined up at fullback and Andrew Whitworth lined up as a tight end on the right -- a common formation when the Bengals go with their jumbo package to run the football.
Whitworth pretended to block LaMarr Woodley briefly and walked into the endzone. Carson Palmer floated a beautiful pass over 20 players' beautiful heads into the massive mitts of our beautiful offensive lineman. Whitworth would go on to score the game's only offensive touchdown, giving the Bengals a 7-0 lead that would eventually evaporate due to Palmer's other two touchdowns passes. Still, a lineman recording a touchdown reception always gives me misty eyes and causes Dave Lapham to go momentarily incoherent in the press box because he couldn't be living in a happier moment.
|#11 Carlos Dunlap Breaks Out|
Unlike Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap began his NFL career with some frustration among the coaching staff and the fans. Inactive through four of the season's first five games, Dunlap's career turned for the better, directly thanks to the misfortunes that befell Antwan Odom.
Now, Dunlap is second in the league among NFL rookies with eight quarterback sacks and he's currently on a streak of recording at least a shared quarterback sack in five straight games, and six of the previous seven games. He's averaging over a quarterback sack in the previous seven games.
Formula: Odom's broken wrist + wife's diet pills = Dunlap's emergence.
|#10 Dezmon Briscoe Picks Tampa Bay|
Back in August -- which felt like five years ago -- the Bengals were debating on whom they should keep as their sixth receiver on the 53-man roster: Jerome Simpson or their sixth round draft pick Dezmon Briscoe. If you asked any fan, a majority wouldn't hesitate to name Briscoe because Simpson's extended stay as one of the team's inactive players during gameday was frustrating.
Eventually keeping Simpson, the Bengals offered Briscoe a standard contract of around $5,200/week to sign with the practice squad. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers blew that deal away with their own practice squad contract for $310,000. The Buccaneers are like grotesquely rich people that bid six hundred-billion-trillion dollars for a baseball that a juiced up baseball player crushed to give him 500 for his career, while wagging his finger -- all authority-like -- about how he's totally clean.
At the end of the day, Briscoe was promoted to the Buccaneers 53-man roster and caught his first NFL receptions last week against the Seattle Seahawks.
Simpson, on the other hand, had the most awesome game that any receiver ever had in the history of football. A bit dramatic? At least we're the last one's laughing when it comes to Tampa Bay. Because...
|#9 The Decision To Throw With The Lead Against Tampa Bay|
With 2:28 left in the fourth quarter and Tampa Bay out of timeouts, the Bengals were enjoying a seven-point lead on third-and-13 at their own 38-yard line. So the obvious thing to do here is to have Carson Palmer force a pass to alligator-arms Terrell Owens into triple coverage . We wouldn't recognize the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals otherwise. Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib intercepted the pass and Josh Freeman tied the game with a 20-yard touchdown throw to Mike Williams.
After driving the football down to the Bengals 47-yard line, Carson Palmer threw another interception that put the Buccaneers in position to connect on a 31-yard field goal to win the game. Which they did.
If you needed a summary of the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, look no further than the team's migraine-inducing 24-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The decision to throw the football, with time expiring and a lead, would often get someone fired because it directly led to the team losing. Actually, if you needed a summary of the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals, you're just messed up man.
Those Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now snickering. Speaking of which...
|#8 Bengals Sign Antonio Bryant And Release Him|
After losing Chris Henry to a broken arm and watching pregnant women move better than Laveranues Coles, the Bengals looked for a wide receiver to give $28 million to with a severe knee condition that the medical staff would never find. Thankfully, the Bengals proudly found one just before another team scooped up the hot commodity.
In early March, the Bengals signed Antonio Bryant to a four-year contract worth $28 million with $8 million guaranteed. With persistent knee problems that the Bengals training staff apparently weren't able to identify, the Bengals threw caution to the wind and allowed Bryant to practice during the first session of the first day in training camp, eliminating Bryant from any Players Unable To Participate lists.
The Bengals were left with the only decision available to them without being placed on Injured Reserve. Eating nearly $7 million and releasing him back to free agency.
At the end of the day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still snickering. I hate the goddamn Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
|#7 Bengals Franchise-Tying 10-game Losing Streak|
Yep. The Bengals lost ten straight games. Moving on to #6...
|#6 Jerome Simpson's Break-Out Game|
It only took 46 regular season games, but the Bengals 2008 Second Round draft pick finally arrived.
A game after recording his first reception in two seasons, Jerome Simpson caught six passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, edging out other performances of doing nothing for a career-game.
|#5 Bengals Score 22 Points In Second Quarter Against Atlanta|
Losing 24-7 as half time concluded, the Bengals appeared to be playing like they've played all season -- always losing early, sometimes by multiple scores and acting lifeless. But like many of their games this year, at some point they'd would surge for at least a quarter to make it interesting enough to keep fans' attention -- which really just pissed off more because we knew that they were capable, if not for the self-imposed methods finding ways to lose.
After a 33-yard Mike Nugent field goal, the Bengals defense only allowed a first down before forcing the Falcons to punt with 7:06 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, Carson Palmer completed all six passes on an 88-yard drive that was capped by a 19-yard Terrell Owens touchdown. Leon Hall intercepted a third-down Matt Ryan pass on the following drive and Carson Palmer hit Jordan Shipley on a hot-route to avoid a blitz that went 64 yards for a touchdown, reducing Cincinnati's deficit to five points.
On Atlanta's very next play, Matt Ryan completed a five-yard pass to Roddy White. Adam Jones yanked the football from White's hands and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. The Bengals took a 25-24 lead by the time the third quarter ended, what could be considered the most exciting single quarter of action this season.
Unfortunately, the game wouldn't end favorably for our boys. After Matt Ryan and the Falcons responded with a touchdown, Cedric Benson fumbled the football that gave Atlanta the opportunity to take a two touchdown lead and eventually the win, 39-32.
|#4 Bengals Spoil Chargers Post-Season Plans|
If the Chargers win their week 16 game against the Bengals, then San Diego still has a chance to win the AFC West, with a little help. Just look at the facts and you'll understand why not a single soul picked the Bengals to beat the Chargers. San Diego came into the game with the league's second best offense, the best defense and the best passing defense.
So it makes sense that the Bengals completely outclassed San Diego in every phase of the game. Cincinnati recorded 371 yards of total offense against the league's best defense and Carson Palmer's 157.2 passer rating was only 1.1 points away from being perfect. Additionally the Bengals held the league's second rated offense 313 yards of total offense.
In a must-win game, it was the Cincinnati Bengals who wanted to win the game, even though they haven't had anything to play for since October, in what was clearly their best game of the year.
|#3 Bengals 57-Game Sellout Streak Is Snapped|
If it weren't for corporations and money bags Papa McGee, the Bengals sellout streak would have been snapped during the team's 2009 playoff run. Instead, local companies and networks often bought the team's remaining non-premium tickets in an effort to get the game sold out, allowing local fans to watch \ from home -- it's just cheaper and the viewing experience is 20-fold better today than its ever been.
Then the Buffalo Bills came into town, who actually had a worse record than Cincinnati. Two teams combined for three wins by the 11th week in the season was a recipe for the first blackout in the region since 2003. And the Bengals lost by 18 points. Yea. This was a really bad day. Andre Smith: "Want some Funyuns?"
|#2 Terrell Owens Signs With Cincinnati|
The Cincinnati Bengals had just embarrassed themselves in front of the NFL community by signing a gimpy wide receiver in Antonio Bryant, who couldn't do much physical work due to his knee. Eventually, the Bengals finally saw what every one else did in Bryant -- he's not physically not right. So the Bengals needed someone else at wide receiver. Conventional wisdom would be to let the younger receivers battle it out.
But the Bengals were coming off a playoff loss in which the passing game was largely deficient. So the offseason goal was to give Carson Palmer weapons in their goal of returning to the postseason.
Just before Training Camp started, the Bengals decided to sign Terrell Owens to a one-year deal worth $2 million with an additional $2 million in incentives. Many expected lockerroom distractions and eventual explosions as the team began their journey of a franchise-level losing streak. While Owens did go public with some complains, he largely kept to himself in a season where he recorded 72 receptions, 983 yards receiving and nine touchdowns.
|#1 Bengals Host The New York Jets In Wild Card Game|
For only the second time since 1991, the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs, hosting the New York Jets on January 9, 2010. Unfortunately, big plays like Shonn Greene's 39-yard touchdown run and Dustin Keller's 45-yard touchdown reception doomed the Bengals, who couldn't generate much of a passing offense. On the bright side, Cedric Benson destroyed the supposedly tough Jets rushing defense with 169 yards rushing on 21 carries and a touchdown.
The Bengals would go onto to lose the game 24-14 and the Jets would eventually reach the AFC Championship Game.
Even though our top moment is of a Bengals playoff loss, the reality is that when the Bengals make the playoffs, it's momentous because of the rarity of occurrences.