I am still in disbelief at the final score to the Patriots game. To be honest I thought the score would be reversed. Yes I figured that the Patriots with their style of offense would score points, but I thought that the Bengals D would have enough to slow them down, and not give up big plays. I thought that the Bengals defense would shut down a non-existent Patriots running game making the Patriots a one dimensional offense.
I thought the special teams for the Bengals would be the ones making plays, giving the Bengals the advantage in field position, and maybe breaking one for a score.
I thought the Bengals Offensive line would at least be able to maul the undersized Patriots, giving Benson tough three to four yard gains early, that would later become seven to ten yard runs, and maybe even break one or two for twenty. I really thought that Benson would gain a hundred yards.
I was expecting two seasoned all-pro wide receivers to school two young cornerbacks enough that the Patriots would have to bring extra help which would in turn give Shipley and Graham nice seams to run underneath.
I think what happened is that the Bengals came into the game expecting all those things to happen, and when they were punched in the mouth by the Patriots it took them too long to recover. I think the defensive line which was dinged up pretty good in the preseason was not ready, and Odom has not found that energy and power that he came out with in the 2009 season. I think the Bengals will have to get Dunlap and Atkins more opportunities to get in the game. And while Sims is not an All Pro, he is massive and really plugs up the middle of the Bengals line.
I think we are seeing the end of Dhani Jones as the starting middle linebacker for the Bengals. I love Dhani, he is intelligent, fun, and has heart, but he could not cover a bed with a blanket today. The Bengals will need to get the best players on the field and Michael Johnson needs to be out there more, both for his ability to presure the QB and his ability to get his hands up and knock passes away.
I think the Bengals have to go with a hybrid of the 2005 and 2009 season. I don't think it works to go no-huddle all the time, but I do think it should be used more often, and earlier in the game as a change of pace. The Bengals need to dictate what they are going to do to the defense, and exert some will. Carson Palmer is a rythem quarterback, and is at his best when the ball is moving quickly. Run a series of no huddle to get Carson, Ocho, and TO into the game, then come back with vintage 2009 of pounding Benson right, Benson left, and Benson up the middle.
Then change it up again. I know this will take some creativity on Bob Bratowski's (sp?) part, but I think it will help Carson, the offense, and the Bengals in general.
There was some reasons for hope, and I do think that a punch in the gut can be a good thing to bring a team back down to earth. If they don't get too low, and they take the right lessons from this game, they can come back next week and lay a whupping on the Ravens. And if they can win three or four of their next five games, the stink of this outing will be less oderous.
The thing is the Bengals have to get the hard knocks attitude they had in 2009 back.