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Monday Morning Hangover...

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I thought to myself this morning, "how would I intro the Monday morning hangover after that embarrassing meltdown Sunday?" Should I rip the defense? (Umm, well duh) What about the coaching staff? I spoke with long time Bengals fan and family member, J-cuz, when I was ripping Marvin Lewis. I said last night, minutes after the loss that Lewis has had four years and our defense is dreadful and undependable; his credibility as a defensive minded coach, went downhill quick. There’s no way on god’s green earth that a defense gives up 42 points in the second half. It should never happen. The defense, with a 21 point lead, should have been able to hold onto that lead. My cousin then goes on to remind me of the injuries this defense has accrued – especially at linebacker. But I ask, if we have our all of our starters in the secondary and on the defensive line, shouldn't’t that be enough to prevent a total meltdown? Are linebackers on defense typically preventing 42-point second halves? Shouldn't’t the defense be strong enough to hold a 21-point lead and prevent a 42-point second half?

I don’t suggest we should fire anyone though. If we win, after giving up the same amount of points, the defenses lack of defending would be secondary after we recovered from a Madden-like display of offense. But we lost and were reminded just how awful this defense really is. When the team made an effort to blitz, no one broke through. When the team made an effort to stack the box, LaDainian Tomlinson still dashed and cut through the line. When the team made an effort to drop eight and only rush three, Phillip Rivers still made completions five to six yards away from the nearest defender.

It’s not a problem with the defensive philosophy. It’s the personnel this team has picked up for the past four years. You see that every time the team blitzes. Other teams actually have guys that get through where the line of protection is rock solid against the Bengals pass rushers. How many opposing quarterbacks have you seen with grass stained shirts in recent weeks? I’m not talking about sacks; just enough pressure to make sure the quarterback feels uncomfortable. As it is, the likes of Steve McNair, Michael Vick and Phillip Rivers were confident the pocket would hold. And they were justified to think that way.

What do you guys think? Is there an explanation at this depressingly horrible display of defense? Or was this just an aberration and we should forget it and move on?

However, I can say with some certainty that our offense seems to be back on track..

Chargers rally with 42 second-half points, outlast Bengals [IHT]
Chargers Win Shootout With Bengals 49-41 [Bay News]
CB Deltha O’Neal hurts shoulder [Boston Herald]
LT's Four Scores Leads San Diego To Comeback Win Over Bengals [WFTV]
Manic Monday: Upset Sunday? [Football Outsiders]
Bengals’ realistic playoff chances vanish along with their 21-point lead [Columbus Dispatch]
Defense disintegrates in second-half collapse [Columbus Dispatch]
Palmer, Johnson put up huge numbers in defeat [Columbus Dispatch]
Bengals can't celebrate yard-fest []
Defense soul searches []
Bengal players dejected in locker room after debacle [DDN]
And the nosedive continues [Enquirer]
Another step backward in playoff chase [Enquirer]
Rivers, Chargers didn't panic at half [Enquirer]
Chad's record diminished by loss [Enquirer]
Palmer turns in record performance [Enquirer]