The Bengals are heading into Week 9 of the 2011 season riding a four-game winning streak and it looks very possible that they will head into their four-game AFC North streak with a 6-2 record. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let's take another look back at the Bengals' Week 8 34-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Here are your Week 8 MVPs and Goats from the different Cincy Jungle writers.
We'll start with...
Anthony Cosenza's MVP:
"Bengals front seven rotation. Constant pressure from the D-Linemen and great run defense by the the linebacker corps. Peko, Sims, Dunlap, Atkins and Rucker were all making plays up front. Brandon Johnson, a forgotten man with the great play from Thomas Howard this season, had 10 tackles and helped hold Marshawn Lynch to only 24 yards rushing. Johnson was filling in for Howard who was limited Sunday. Also in on the stout defense was Dan Skuta, who was replacing Rey Maualuga."
- The Bengals front seven rotation, especially on the defensive line, has been the team's strength throughout the entire season. The Bengals defensive front seven has been amazing this season and is one of the best in the league. The depth of the defensive line helps them stay fresh through four quarters and the acquisition of Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson has been huge for Mike Zimmer's defense. When Rey Maualuga comes back, the front seven will be even better than it was last week.
Dave Wellman's MVP:
"Na na na na na na na na na, Pacman! Adam Jones returned from injury in fine style. Though he only last one play, it was exactly the kind of play the team needed early in the game to get up on the Seattle Seahawks and take some of the starch out of the "12th man." And just as important he gave some key advice to Brandon Tate -- namely to quit juking after the catch and just make one move and go instead -- that led to Tate's TD return that iced the game. Hopefully his promise to return for the Titans game pans out, because we could use more runbacks like that. (Not to mention some help in the secondary, too...)"
- Adam Jones' return was short but sweet. His 63-yard punt return sparked the Bengals team to score their first touchdown of the game. He set the offense up on the 26-yard line and they did the rest. Unfortunately he hurt his hamstring on the play. Hopefully he's healthy by Sunday's game against the Titans and if not, hopefully he gets back on the field soon.
Naji Bsisu's MVP:
"Brandon Tate. He had the huge 56 yard punt return for a touchdown that could not have come at a better time. He gives the Bengals a weapon on special teams, and being that this is his first year in the NFL returning punts, he should only get better."
- It seemed that it was only a matter of time before Tate returned a punt for a touchdown. He had some critics early in the season for questionable decision making and dancing around more than moving upfield but if he had any of those critics left in Week 8, he silenced them. I'm looking forward to seeing more punt returns from Tate.
Now to the Goats:
Anthony Cosenza's Goat:
"Bengals pass defense. The only good plays of the day from the back four was a sack by Chris Crocker and a big interception return by Reggie Nelson. Otherwise, letting up over 350 yards passing from Charlie Whitehurst and Tavaris Jackson to a group of mediocre Seattle wideouts is unacceptable. If Seattle's receivers didn't drop as many balls as they did, it would have been worse."
- The Bengals secondary will need to play better in coming weeks, especially when the Titans pass more than they run because of Chris Johnson's inability to run the ball next week and after that they go up against the Steelers, Ravens and Browns. While the front seven stops the run and puts pressure on the quarterback, the secondary has to do their job as well.
Dave Wellman's Goat:
"Speaking of kicks, hello, coverage unit! Anybody home? The 'Hawks didn't break one Sunday, but they very nearly did enough times that I was watching through my fingers every time Nugent or Huber touched the ball. I saw a lot of missed tackles and bad angles. Darrin Simmons is going to need to tighten that up or other tams will eventually do to them what they did to Seattle yesterday."
- Regardless of how good an offense or a defense plays, a team can live or die by its special teams. Throughout the year, the Bengals special teams units have been pretty good but on Sunday they scared me a little. Hopefully Darrin Simmons corrects them before the Titans game.
Naji Bsisu's Goat:
"Andre Smith. The offensive line wasn't all that great yesterday but Smith was penalized for a couple of false starts so he gets singled out. It was a little bit of a set-back considering how well they played against the Colts last week."
- In an atmosphere as loud as the Seahawks stadium, linemen need to be focused on what they're doing. Even one five-yard false start penalty can kill a drive and one failed drive can be the difference between winning and losing. Smith has been pretty good this season, especially when you compare what he's done in 2011 to what he did before, but there is still room for improvement