I remember the last time the Bengals played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29th, 2002. Since tickets held the same value as used toilet paper back then, the game wasn't sold out and I listened on the radio. This was the same season Tampa Bay finished 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.
Believe it or not, the Bengals, on a Brian Simmons 51-yard interception return, took the lead at the conclusion of the first quarter. Then Tampa Bay railed off 35 points (21 in the second quarter) and shutout the Bengals for the remaining three quarters. The legendary Akili Smith completed 12 of 33 passes for 117 yards; a staggering 34.5 passer rating. Did I revive nightmares of the Smith era? The Bengals offense, in this game finished drives with punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt, missed field goal, turnover on downs, fumble and end of game. The Smith led Bengals had seven three-and-outs and 11 first downs. To all you non-Bengals fans THIS is what we dealt with!
But now the Bengals are 3-1 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 0-4.
Here's the primer for the week:
WHEN: Sunday, October 15th.
WHO: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WHERE: Tampa Bay
Television: CBS with Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon (guess Nantz and Simms got a little tired of us)
- The Bengals are riding an 8-game winning streak against the NFC outscoring interconference opponents 227-91 during the streak. Starting with Tampa Bay, the Bengals play three NFC teams for the next three weeks.
- In six career games against the NFC, Carson Palmer is 6-0, 128-207 (62%), 1,446 passing yards and 14 touchdowns (97.2 passer rating).
- The Bengals offense has scored every time they've entered the red-zone; 12 times (8 TDs, 4 FGs).
- Bengals defense is tied for 4th in the NFL with seven interceptions; Madieu Williams has 2.
- In eight straight games against the NFC, Rudi Johnson has rushed at least 19 times. The Bengals are 21-6 when Rudi rushes 20 times or more; 13-0 with 25 carries or more.
- If Chad Johnson catches a pass Sunday, it will be his 65th straight game with at least one reception. This will put Johnson in second place for longest game-streak with at least one reception. Carl Pickens is #1 with 93 straight games with at least one reception.
- On Johnson's next 100-yard game, he will have the second most in franchise history tieing Cris Collinsworth at 18 100-yard games. The great Isaac Curtis holds the team record with 20.
- For only the second time in his career, T.J. Houshmandzadeh posted 90+ receiving yards in consecutive games (Pittsburgh, New England).
- Robert Geathers and Justin Smith are one of five team-mates in the NFL with each sporting at least four sacks each. They were the only ones two weeks ago.
- When Cadillac Williams rushes for 100 yards or more, the Bucs are 6-1. When he rushes 20 times or more, the Bucs are 7-0.
- Joey Galloway is looking for a fourth straight game with 100 yards and/or a touchdown.
- Pass defense gives up 155 yards per game; second best in the NFC.
- Simeon Rice is 2nd among active players with 120 sacks. If he has two sacks this weekend, which is very likely, he'll pass the great Clyde Simmons for 12th in NFL history. Rice, in four career games, has three sacks against the Bengals.