Good morning Bengals Nation! It's Wednesday which means everything is downhill from here. The first half of the week is over and everything will hopefully be smooth sailing from here on out. That's the optimistic view for the day. Now if you're feeling more like a negative Nancy then just think, things could be worse. You could be in Cleveland. And let's face it, Cleveland doesn't have much of anything going for them right now. The Browns played to their usual standards, the Cavaliers are off to a decent start (3-2), but that will change by the time the NBA season ends, and well the Indians haven't done much to improve their team from last season.
Alright so instead of beating a dead horse by saying how much the Bengals have impressed everyone from around the league with their performance during the regular season I think it's time to do something a little different. In my lifetime the Bengals have never won a playoff game, but I honestly believe that could change Saturday as they take on the Houston Texans in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Bengals defense repeats their performance from the first 57 minutes for an entire 60 minutes then they have a legitimate chance of winning. Actually, if the defense can repeat its first half performance where they held Houston to a field goal then that would be great. For once the second quarter wasn't the doom of the Bengals. The defense can't fold in the final two minutes. They have to be able to overcome any mistakes that they make.
The Bengals held the Batman and Robin duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate to 108 yards on 23 carries. Now that's not terribly impressive, but if you take out Tate's 44-yard dash from the first quarter then the Foster/Tate combo only managed to run for 64 yards on 22 carries. That's an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Overall that's an impressive performance from the Bengals run defense. Also the Bengals kept the Texans running game out of the end zone which is also going to be key on Saturday.
One improvement that the Bengals defense will have to make is covering the tight end along with the rest of Houston's receivers, but especially that pesky tight end Owen Daniels. During their first match-up Daniels burned the Bengals defense for 100 yards on seven catches. Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter was the nail in the coffin for the Bengals defense. Walter was left wide open for the game winning catch as time was winding down. Cincinnati's pass defense will have to step up their efforts on Saturday. The entire defensive unit can't afford to implode during the final two minutes of the game.
So if the Bengals defense can manage to contain the Texans offense then a win is more than possible for the Bengals. But it's going to take a lot of focus from the defense and very few mental lapses as well. Otherwise the Bengals will have to wait until next season to attempt to get a win in the playoffs. But hopefully the Bengals will ruin the Texans first playoff appearance in franchise history by handing them a loss.
Alright here is what you may have missed or overlooked from Tuesday.
- According to Andrew Whitworth the Bengals are not intimidated to play on the road. That's always a good sign. The last thing you want is for your team to be overwhelmed and intimidated going into the playoffs.
- The Houston Chronicle recently published an article giving 12 reasons as to why the Texans will beat the Bengals on Saturday. But here in Cincinnati we don't just lie down and brush it aside. We have to defend the Bengals and someone at the Cincinnati Enquirer published a rebuttal against the Houston Chronicle.
- Mike Nugent was Mr. Reliable for a majority of the season. Through the first 11 games he only missed one field goal. However, during the final five games Nugent missed four field goals. His reasoning behind the recent missed field goals is that he misjudged the wind.
- The Bengals offensive and defensive snap count for the 2011 regular season.
- Cincy Jungle's Unsung Hero of the Week for Week 17 is......
- The Bengals offensive and defensive snap count against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Cincy Jungle's Week 17 MVP is....
- There is going to be some history made on Saturday beause the Bengals and Texans game will be the first game during the Super Bowl Era to feature two opposing rookie quarterbacks. Despite leaving the season finale, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates is expected to start on Saturday.
- Defensive back Rico Murray has been signed to the Bengals practice squad.
- Take a look at the Bengals penalty breakdown from the 2011 regular season.
- Before the Bengals fourth quarter collapse, the defense played well against the Texans.