NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans reacts after being stopped for a loss by the Houston Texans during play at LP Field on October 23, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, Buffalo's Fred Jackson and San Francisco's Frank Gore are three of the league's top five running backs. None gained 100 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals rush defense, which currently stands as the league's second-best through eight weeks; only one defense has allowed a lower yard/rush average than the 3.3 Cincinnati has allowed. With guys like Domata Peko, Pat Sims, Geno Atkins, Rey Maualuga, Manny Lawson, Reggie Nelson, Chris Crocker among so many others, this rush defense is aggressive from top to bottom, starting with the defensive front that absolutely refuses to be shoved around.
Yet for some reason the idea of Chris Johnson scares me.
I know, I know. He's averaging 2.8 yards/rush this season, failed to reach 40 yards rushing in all but three games and his lone 100-yard rushing performance was only one of two instances that his yard/rush average was higher than 2.7 yards during a game. Then those 20-plus years of history drops on my shoulders, starting with the day Mike Brown took over as team president. Twenty years of historical knowledge that in a situation similar to this, it would be this game that Johnson explodes.
Some will call me a pessimist and in some regards, I do fall into that line of thinking. I've been a fan for a very long time; well before the Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco era brought new fans in (I've been writing about the Bengals well before Carson Palmer took his first NFL snap... yes, that long). And there are some habits that will take longer than others to wipe out. Many of the older fans know what I'm talking about.
But in the end, it's baseless. Completely. There's no reason to think that Mike Zimmer wouldn't prepare this defense with full-readiness for Johnson, showing no differential between a bad season or his 2,000-yard season in 2009.
When asked about his struggles, Ice0on (CaJ) from Music City Miracles blames his lack of production mostly on the offensive line writing:
He just isn’t able to carry their weight anymore, and he’s frustrated because they can’t do their job. He has also missed some holes.
Make sure to get your questions in about Cincinnati's next opponent here.