Hey. Can you believe that happened during the season finale of Boardwalk Empire?
During every game that the Cincinnati Bengals play this season, I usually keep a running article written in Microsoft Word that generally (though not always) details every possession. And when those possessions become scoring drives, that particular section is added onto the website in the form of a quick scoring update. Most of you (I’m talking to thousands upon thousands of The Kirk’s people), whom join us on Sundays during the game, know what I’m talking about. My intention was always to add the increasingly large article into a massive post to let you review moments within the most recent game, especially during a win and doubly important if you weren’t able to see the game for one reason or another (for example, a blackout, a blackout or possibly a blackout).
Here’s the thing. This is completely raw. There are nearly 3,000 words here and double-checking it with a Kevlar-built editor’s jacket takes time. There are quick introduction about things that just happened, so it’ll feel like you’re re-reading stuff. And for the love of god, forgive me for the errors you might come across. There are portions missed, especially late in the game because around that time I was getting started on postgame plan. If this is something you want in the future (rest of this year and next year… if we remember), let me know.
RAMS (1st Quarter, 14:56)
The St. Louis Rams got off to a quick start Sunday, using a formula of running the football on first down with Steven Jackson picking holes and exposing blown containment on the edges, summarizing a quick offensive possession by the Rams that started with 21 yards rushing on three of the first four runs.
With less than 12 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Rams setup from Cincinnati's 43-yard line on second and seven, Clemens overshoots Brandon Lloyd against a Chris Crocker blitz, a handful of yards beyond the first down with Nate Clements covering. On third down with Carlos Dunlap back on the field at left defensive end, Clemens takes the shotgun snap and pitches to Steven Jackson, who is dragged down from behind by Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins for a one-yard loss. The Rams punter kicks the football into the endzone.
Significance: Bengals defense eventually stiffens against the Rams, stalling Steven Jackson on a third down run, forcing St. Louis to punt.
BENGALS (1st QUARTER, 12:00) – MISSED REDZONE OPPORTUNITY FORCES A FIELD GOAL AND 3-0 LEAD
Following St. Louis’ touchdown, the Bengals initiate their first drive of the game from their own 20-yard line. Following an incomplete pass to A.J. Green on a rollout to the right, quarterback Andy Dalton takes a one-step drop and completes a three-yard pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham, who lined up wide right. With Cedric Peerman in the backfield on third down, Andy Dalton overshoots A.J. Green down the right sidelines when the Rams were called for roughing the passer, extending a possession that should have ended.
Generously accepting St. Louis’ gift, the Bengals move to their own 38-yard line when Cedric Benson got his first rushing attempt of the game, violently chugging his legs for a five-yard gain. Dalton fakes the handoff on the following play and unleashed the football towards A.J. Green on a deep post. Clearly (and easily) beating the coverage, Green makes a finger-tip catch to haul in the 55-yard pass to the Bengals two-yard line.
After Cedric Benson lost a yard and an incomplete floater to Green at the back of the endzone, the Bengals have third and goal from their own three-yard line with 9:07 remaining in the quarter. Andy Dalton attempts a similar throw towards the back of the endzone, but Green is unable to keep his feet in-bounds to complete the pass.
Mike Nugent converts the 21-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead.
Significance: The issue of penalties that would hurt both teams throughout the game surfaced early with the Bengals possession extending due a Rams penalty.
RAMS (1st QUARTER 8:54) – MISSED JOSH BROWN FIELD GOAL
Though the Rams rushing offense started slower than in the previous possession, Kellen Clemens spun the football nicely on timing routes, picking up 10 yards and 15 yards, nearly deflected by a diving Adam Jones. The pounding headache of another subpar, or inexperienced, quarterback beating the Bengals crept closer from the hidden depths from within the back of my brain. Compounding the problem was a Chris Crocker roughing the passer, pushing the Rams to Bengals 39-yard line with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter.
Eventually the Rams setup with third and one from the Bengals 25-yard line, following a nine-yard Steven Jackson run up the middle. Rams quarterback Clemons pitched the football to Steven Jackson to the right, much like their previous possession, with Nate Clements dropping Jackson for a two-yard loss. Josh Brown pushes the ensuing field goal attempt wide right.
Significance: Nate Clements made his first of many big plays on defense against the Rams, but a defensive penalty provided an offense with new life.
BENGALS (1ST QUARTER, 3:45) – ANDY DALTON PICKED OFF BY JOSH GORDY
Thanks to a clutch tackle by Nate Clements on third and one on a Steven Jackson pitch, the Rams were forced to convert a field goal. Josh Brown pushed it wide right, giving Cincinnati the ball at their own 35-yard line with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter. And on the very first play, guard Mike McGlynn was called for an offensive holding, forcing the Bengals back 10 yards. Dalton hands off to Benson on first and 20, picking up four yards to the left side.
Dalton fakes an end around to Andrew Hawkins, throwing the football to his right where A.J. Green waited on the football during a called bubble screen. Green sidestepped defenders, using his blazing speed to pick up 30 yards and the first down. Following an offsides on Chris Long, Dalton fakes the handoff and throwing a floater over the Rams defensive line to Colin Cochart, who snuck out of the backfield and picking up six yards and the first down to the Rams 30-yard line.
Cedric Benson’s number was called on consecutive runs to end the first quarter, picking up five yards on each play for another first down – the second handoff resulting in a recovered fumble that the officials didn’t acknowledge that the ground caused.
Mike McGlynn was penalized for illegal hands to the face, forcing the Bengals into a third and 20. After a one-yard loss by Cedric Benson, Andy Dalton is picked off by Josh Gordy, returning the football 30 yards to Cincinnati’s 48-yard line.
Significance: Though his penalty ultimately didn’t hurt the Bengals, Mike McGlynn’s illegal hands to the face forced Andy Dalton to believe he needed to pick up the first down on that one play.
RAMS (2ND QUARTER, 14:05) – JONATHAN FANENE ENDS RAMS POSSESSION ON A QB SACK
Following a 30-yard interception return to Cincinnati’s 48-yard line by defensive back Josh Gordy, the Rams run the football on their first two downs, when Jonathan Fanene sacked Clemons, forcing the Rams to punt after a three and out. Nice.
Significance: Jonathan Fanene brings the pain, fool.
BENGALS (2ND QUARTER, 12:18) – BENGALS GO THREE AND OUT
With Cincinnati entering their third possession of the game, it marks running back Bernard Scott’s entry in what will probably be a short possession with a big loss at some point. And after consecutive runs to start the drive with Scott picking up six yards, Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap with under 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter, and unleashes a quick pass to A.J. Green well short of the first down marker. The rookie wide receiver looks around, but only gains two yards on the reception and the Bengals are forced to punt.
Significance: Typical second quarter bullshit.
RAMS (2ND QUARTER, 10:11) – FAILED TRICK PLAY LEADS TO A THREE AND OUT AND A PUNT
On first down from the Rams 45-yard line, Rams quarterback Kellen Clemons unleashes the football downfield to Brandon Lloyd, who had beaten the secondary. However the football hung in the air and Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson recovered just enough to force the incomplete pass. Following a four-yard run, the Rams have third and six from their own 49-yard line with 9:28 remaining in the first half.
Clemons pitches the football to Steven Jackson to the right and it appeared from the start that the Rams called a trick play with Jackson never motioning upfield. Jackson threw the football back to Clemons, who tried hitting Austin Pettis’ crossing route. However the receiver juggled the football, which hit the ground forcing the Rams to punt the football. Rams are tricksys, Gollum. Indeed.
Significance: Rams try to open the field with a bomb and a trick play and nearly make both happen, if not for underwhelming passes.
BENGALS (2ND QUARTER, 9:10) – BENGALS GO THREE AND OUT AND KEVIN HUBER’S PUNT IS BLOCKED
With 9:06 remaining in the first quarter, following a Brandon Tate fair catch at Cincinnati’s 14-yard, tight end Jermaine Gresham penalizes the team with a five-yard false start, forcing the Bengals to start at their own nine-yard line. Dalton fakes the handoff out of shotgun and fires a quick pass to A.J. Green, picking up seven yards.
Dalton hands off to Benson on second down, finding little running room on the two-yard gain setting up a third and six from Cincinnati’s 18-yard line with under nine minutes remaining. Dalton takes the shotgun snap with Cedric Peerman flanking his left, and immediately throws the football to his left where the football is deflected, forcing the Bengals to punt, which was blocked by Robert Quinn.
Significance: Typical second quarter bullshit.
RAMS (2ND QUARTER, 7:31) – FIELD GOAL ENABLED FOLLOWING ADAM JONES POINTLESS FACEMASK
Following their game-opening field goal to take a 3-0 lead, the Bengals offense has turned the football over and gone three and out twice. The most recent three and out led to a partial Kevin Huber blocked punt, which rolled to Cincinnati’s 39-yard line where the Rams start their possession with 7:31 remaining in the first half.
Consecutive runs by Cadillac Williams for nine yards led to a third and one from the Bengals 30-yard line. Clemons pitched the football left, where Nate Clements explodes through the line of scrimmage to drop the running back for a three-yard loss.
Rather than forcing a long field goal or an angled short punt, Adam Jones was called for a face mask, giving the Rams new life on the possession to Cincinnati’s 15-yard line. The Rams would fail to pick up another first down and Josh Brown converted the chip-shot 26-yard field goal to tie the game at three.
Significance: Adam Jones has become a trigger for my life-long battle against Migraines.
BENGALS (2ND QUARTER, 4:12) – BENGALS TURNOVER ON DOWNS AFTER FAILURES TO CONVERT FOURTH AND ONE
Now with the game tied at three, Cincinnati’s second quarter struggles continue. Following a Cedric Benson four-yard run, Andy Dalton is sacked for a six-yard loss with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter. With 12 yards needed on third down, Dalton unleashes the football down the right sidelines under intense pressure to A.J. Green where Rod Hood was called for defensive pass interference at Cincinnati’s 24-yard line. Benson lost two yards on the following play, followed with an 11-yard reception on a screen to the Rams 41-yard line as the first half reaches the two-minute warning.
Andy Dalton lines up in a big package, hands off to Benson who fails to convert the first down. Cincinnati decides to go for it on fourth down from the Rams 42-yard line and the Rams defense stuffs Benson for a turnover on downs.
Significance: A.J. Green hurt his shoulder on this drive, causing 75% of the married male segment within Bengals nation to openly weep against the shoulders of their sympathetic wives – the other 25% got teased last week for crying after Cincinnati’s loss to Houston and got yelled at by their wives, so they’re hiding their tears of hurt. Divorces are pending.
BENGALS (3rd QUARTER, 14:55) – MIKE NUGENT FIELD GOAL TIES THE GAME AT SIX
The Cincinnati Bengals came out of half-time with a nice five-yard run by Cedric Benson on first down from their own 26-yard line. Following a pass into a tight window to Jermaine Gresham that fell incomplete, Andy Dalton fires a pass towards the first down marker on the left, where Ryan Whalen hauls in the first down reception, completing his first catch in his NFL career. Cedric Benson takes the handoff on the ensuing play and violently picks up 12 yards where Benson fumbled the football that the Bengals thankfully recovered.
Keeping to the ideals that Cincinnati’s rushing offense should be better than St. Louis’ rushing defense, Benson picked up another seven yards, edging the right side of the line and sprinting down the sidelines before he’s pushed out of bounds. Andy Dalton followed that up with a 10-yard reception on a beautiful Jerome Simpson route to the Rams 32-yard line.
Jermaine Gresham picked up nine yards on the following play, catching the football five yards short of the first down and fighting for another four yards to the Rams 23-yard line. A Jermaine Gresham targeted pass fell out of bounds and the Bengals thought, for some reason they could pick up one yard on third and short with a Cedric Benson run. They didn’t.
Mike Nugent converted the 41-yard field goal, tying the game with 10:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Significance: A wiser man once told me if something doesn’t work, then try not doing something that doesn’t work – such as running the football on third and short.
RAMS (3RD QUARTER, 10:18) – RAMS FORCED TO PUNT
One might get Kellen Clemons confused with Michael Vick with the way the Rams quarterback found a wide lane for an eight-yard gain up the middle on first down from their own 15-yard line. Steven Jackson explodes down the left sidelines, thanks to missed tackles by none other than Adam Jones, picking up 18 yards.
The Rams possession eventually stalled, forcing the Rams to punt the football.
Significance: Unsure. Due to frustration, the author of these pages spilled a drink on his desk after slamming his fist through the planet Earth causes it to tip over.
BENGALS (3RD QUARTER, 7:42) – PENALTIES STALL ANOTHER OFFENSIVE POSSESSION
Cincinnati’s defense started bending against the Rams rushing offense, highlighted by a Kellen Clemons scramble for eight yards, followed with an 18-yard sprint by Steven Jackson. Eventually the defense stood stall against the penetrating Rams offense, forcing St. Louis to punt the football where Brandon Tate eventually made the fair catch at Cincinnati’s 11-yard line. Before the first down is snapped, Jermaine Gresham is called for a false start, pushing the Bengals to first and 15 at their own six-yard line.
Following a four-yard run by Cedric Benson, Anthony Collins is penalized for an offensive hold, once again pushing the Bengals to their own five-yard line. Andrew Hawkins picks up ten yards on a bubble screen, setting up a more manageable third and six. A.J. Green, lined up wide right, beats the cornerback on a quick slant for a seven-yard gain and the first down.
However the drive was quickly stalled, thanks to a pathetic offense, lead by a pathetic offensive line. Collins was called for a false start on second down, forcing the Bengals to go 17 yards to pick up the first down. Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap and hands off to Cedric Peerman in a play to give Kevin Huber room to punt the football.
Significance: For the love of god. The Rams? Really? We’re this bad against the fu… (editor’s note: The following 1,642 words were deleted)
BENGALS (3RD QUARTER, 1:33) – BRANDON TATE 55-YARD PUNT RETURN, BERNARD SCOTT TOUCHDOWN
Nate Clements sacked quarterback Kellen Clements on third and seven from the Rams 34-yard line with 2:10, forcing the Rams to punt the football. Brandon Tate takes the football at Cincinnati’s 20-yard line and returns the football 55 yards with a beautiful 15-yard personal foul to Cincinnati’s 12-yard line.
Bernard Scott takes the football on first down, pounds the football 11 yards to the Rams one-yard line.
Following an incomplete pass negated on an illegal use of the hands foul and no-gain stuff on Bernard Scott, the Bengals tried again by pounding their backup running back into the endzone.
Cincinnati takes a 13-6 lead with a handful of seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Significance: Brandon Tate rules and has always ruled and anyone that says differently is a commie.
RAMS (3RD QUARTER, 0:12) – A HARVEY DAHL SET OF PENALTIES DRIVE
Now with a seven-point lead following an explosive hit by Reggie Nelson dropping Steven Jackson for a limited two-yard gain, the game reaches the final period. Following a third down conversion, Cadillac Williams’ 12-yard run was negated following a Harvey Dahl holding, who enthusiastically claimed that he didn’t hold, generating an unsportsmanlike conduct, forcing the Rams into a first and 30.
The Rams didn’t bother trying to convert, running twice and ending the possession with a screen and eventually a punt.
Significance: I hope the Bengals sign Harvey Dahl.
BENGALS (4TH QUARTER, 11:45) – BENGALS TAKE A 20-6 LEAD
Following a Harvey Dahl moment that may be remembered long after this game is actually completed, an eventual first and 30 forced the Rams to punt the football. Brandon Tate returned the football 15 yards, negated on a Dan Skuta hold, pushing the Bengals back to their own 20-yard line. Andy Dalton quickly hits A.J. Green for a 14-yard gain and Cedric Benson follows that up with a 14-yard gain.
Thankfully Jerome Simpson recovered Benson’s third fumble of the afternoon – speaking of which, Jerome Simpson did play? On the following play Dalton tries to dump off the pass to Benson, but a violent hit on Benson is called for an unnecessary roughness, giving the Bengals another 15 yards.
Following an eight-yard end around by Andrew Hawkins, Benson’s 15-yard run ended with another personal foul on the Rams giving the Bengals a first and four from the Rams four-yard line. Benson takes the handoff and breaks the left edge, diving in the endzone near the front left pylon for the touchdown, giving the Bengals a 20-6 lead with 9:14 remaining in the game.
NOTE: About this time I was gearing up for our postgame coverage…
Significance: I'm a man. When I'm finished, I'm finished.