... if the Bengals 26th rush defense is a product of injury or general performance. When Dexter Jackson and David Pollack were starting on the defense, the Bengals allowed 170 rushing yards (85 per game). Against Pittsburgh and New England, the defense allowed 406 rushing yards (203 per game). Only the Jets (8) and Titans (8) have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Bengals (7). The Bengals rush defense has allowed a league high 39 first downs -- five more than the 31st team -- and four 20+ yard gains -- only the Titans have allowed more. But this isn't new. It's been like this since Marvin Lewis became the head coach. Is it talent or a system that promotes an embarrassing rush defense?
... if anyone realized that Shayne Graham is one kick (5) from the league lead for most touchbacks on kickoff (6). The Bengals allow an average 20.5 yards per return -- fifth best in the NFL.
... if anyone really cares about the Andy Fuhrman vs. T.J. Houshmandzadeh wars. T.J. had agreed to do a one-hour show on Thursdays with Andy Fuhrman on 700 WLW. Houshmandzadeh never showed up last Thursday which prompted Fuhrman to go nuts eventually firing Houshmandzadeh. When told T.J. called him a (I'm paraphrasing here. If you know the actual quote, please comment here) dumbass white boy, Fuhrman went nuts. On Friday, he ran a show mostly saying T.J. was a racist. The surprising reaction from callers is what left me confused. Some said they do not like T.J. anymore Some said they won't go to games because T.J. was the last straw of a long list of questionable characters on this team. Even a seven-year old called and said he doesn't like T.J. anymore because he's not "responsible" enough to show up for a one-hour radio show. I suppose it's justifiable for fans to over-react when a wide receiver doesn't show up to a radio show... not! I suppose we'll base our cheers and jeers on what he does off the field rather than on. Give me a break. The guy gets paid to catch passes, not do a radio show with Andy Fuhrman.
... if Dazed and Confused is one of the best movies of all-time.
... how long it will take for this offense to click. The 19th ranked offense has seen Palmer dropped 15 times. Chad Johnson has been a non-factor most of the season in terms of production -- his name and recognition has left one-on-one coverage on everyone else. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry have missed a combined three games (with two on the way) and Chris Perry should be making his season debut in the next game or two. Eric Ghiaciuc is starting for the injured Rich Braham and the Tab Perry shovel pass has been removed from the playbook.
... if David Pollack will play football again. One of the sad stories about this game is the potential a player could have his career ended prematurely due to injury. But as Geoff Hobson says, Pollack is finding inspiration and motivation from a new playbook; the bible. As violent as this game is and how much it's played, it's amazing more players don't suffer career-ending injuries or even fatalities. The game has come a long way protecting these players with revised rules and increased protection in their armor. I liken the improved safety to NASCAR. Years ago, there was a time NASCAR saw death and career ending injuries as a "part of the sport". It's not like that anymore. Since the death of Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR continues to make great improvements to safety; something the NFL, college football and high school football continues to improve on.
... when was the last time the Bengals had a bye during week five. It was in 2004 if you're wondering. The Bengals lost 17-34 against the Browns after their bye week. But the Bengals aren't that good returning from a bye that falls on week five; they are 1-4. Including the loss to the Browns, the Bengals lost to the Chiefs, 15-17 (1993), to the Vikings, 24-38 (1992) and to the Seawhaks, 7-13 (1991). The only win after returning from a week five bye was in 1998 beating the Steelers 25-20.
... what the heck am I going to do Sunday. As I use my nifty TV Guide, I see the sole CBS game is the Browns vs. the Panthers (snoozer). Fox is showing the Redskins and Giants early and the Cowboys and Eagles late. It's always been my dream to have a full day of NFC East action. The NASCAR Nextel Cup series is in Talladega running the UAW-Ford 500. If you haven't experienced NASCAR at Talladega, I recommend it. This is the race track that most expect the "big one". Promising, right? There are wrecks here that include 20+ cars and wild finishes with cars on their hood skidding on the asphalt. One car, last season, was even spinning in the midair on it's engine. This place is simply crazy everytime they run it.