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Gameday: Bengals at Saints

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GAME: Cincinnati Bengals vs. New Orleans Saints
WHEN: Sunday, November 19th, 1 P.M.
LOCATION: Superdome in New Orleans
BROADCAST: CBS with Dick Enberg and Randy Cross. Sirius: 123 (Cincinnati), 158 (New Orleans)

PERSONNEL: Caleb Miller will start at middle linebacker over Ahmad Brooks. Deltha O'Neal and Dexter Jackson are listed as inactive -- Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Kaesviharn will start in those spots respectively.

Gamebook.

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Comment here for your game thoughts (i.e. open thread)

4:06: Game over. HELL YEA. Brees went 37 for 52 for 510 yards! And lost by 15 points. Hehe. BENGALS WIN 31-16. It's nice to get back in the winning ways.

4:05: Brees just completed his 35th pass on his 50th attempt for 481 yards.

4:04: Kilmer made a nice open field tackle. I'm liking this guy...

4:03: Now it's a matter of time. The Saints are throwing underneath because the Bengals defense is in total prevent mode.

4:02: Saints have the ball at their own 16 with 1:52 left in the game.

3:58: Rudi runs off Whitworth picking up two yards. The clock is moving moving moving. On third-and-six, Rudi gets the hand off and picks up 3 yards. We're at the two minute warning. It's fourth-and-three. I say go for it and close the game out now. (this is why I'm not an NFL coach).

3:56: Rudi runs up the middle for 2 yards. He now has 25 carries for 106 yards for the day. Nice day by the offense; a guy with 100 yards rushing, 100 yards receiving and 25 yards short of a 300-yard day by Palmer. Saints called their last time out.

3:55: With four minutes left in the game, Rudi picks up about two yards on a pitch to the left. Oddly, Rudi didn't make an effort to fall to the ground to keep the clock winding. Third-and-nine at the 40 with 4:07 left in the game and RUDI RUNS UP THE MIDDLE AND PICKS UP 10 YARDS AND IS NOW OVER 100 YARDS FOR THE DAY.

3:54: Saints attempt the on-side. After the first bounce, on the opposite of the over-weighted side, Chris Perry tried a diving catch and missed. A momentary heart attack was calmed after Reggie Kelly fell on the ball. On first down, Rudi was buried behind the line of scrimmage. Saints call a timeout.. their second of the half.

3:50: In shotgun with five receivers, Cooper went up the middle unchallenged and caught the pass for a 27 yard touchdown. Saints climb back 31-16. However, Johnathan Joseph comes off the edge and blocks the PAT. NICE!!!!!!!!!!

3:49: On first down, with five receivers, Robinson had his mitts on Brees and the quarterback just threw it into the ground. Ten yards away was a receiver. It should have been intentional grounding. Whatever. Aw heck, I should be happy now, right? I am.

3:48: On first down, with six minutes left in the game, Brees threw to a wide open Stecker for 32 yards. Then on first down at the Cincinnati 48, Stecker hauled down the four yard pass. On second down, Horn caught a six yard pass and converted the first down. Now it's first-and-10 at the Cincinnati 38 with five and a half minutes left.

3:45: The Bengals, in the fourth quarter had just won this game after big plays on defense and offense. On the play, Kilmer jumped the pass to the right.

3:44: THE BENGALS ARE LEADING 31-10 -- sorry about the caps, a little fired up. :)

3:43 : ETHAN KILMER PICKS OFF THE PASS!!!!!!!!! AND SCORES THE TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3:42: In the past two games, Chad Johnson has 17 catches 449 yards and five touchdowns.

3:40: Who's this Henderson guy? Chad has six receptions for 190 yards. Palmer, other than yardage, is now having a much better day than Brees. On the touchdown play, Chad was wide left and ran a quick slant. Palmer threw it perfectly into his chest and the Bengals are winning 24-10.

3:39: Play action to Rudi, Palmer throws it deep over the left hash mark and COMPLETES THE 48 YARD PASS. He was double-covered and sprinted by both of them. Then at the four-yard line, Palmer drops back and throws a quick pass to Chad for the TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3:38: On first down, Rudi gets the pitch to the left. GREAT BLOCKING by the left side of the line (mostly Whitworth) and Rudi picks up 22 yards.

3:37: I hate Dr. Scholl's commercials.

3:36: After a dropped pass to McAllister, Bush ran for a huge second-round draft pick yard. Then on third down, Brees dumped off to Bush for six yards. Saints go three-and-out and punt. C'MON BENGALS. I say we huddle and take our time getting to the line of scrimmage. There's 9:28 left in the game and the Bengals offense will get the ball at their own 26 yard line.

3:32: Palmer looks more Palmer-esque. He's 12 of 20 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Jeanty and Chad Johnson are experiencing cramping problems. Doesn't look serious.

3:31: Now Jeanty is on the ground hurting. Again, it looks like a cramp. (crossing fingers)

3:30: Third-and-two, Rudi comes out. In shotgun, Palmer drops back and runs up the pocket expecting pressure. Once up in the pocket, Palmer rips it to Chad Johnson who ran an out and up. The cornerback on Chad was looking at the quarterback and not Chad. That's when Chad ran up field with the cornerback 20 yards behind him hauling down the 68 yard touchdown pass. On the play, Chad came up holding his hamstring which looks like a cramp. Bengals leading 17-10.

3:26: Palmer, in shotgun, was under heavy blitz by the Saints defense. It was picked up and Palmer fired a rocket to T.J. who ran a comeback route. The Bengals picked up only their second first down conversion of the day on third.

3:25: On one-yard pick up on first down, Jeremi Johnson was hurt and limped off the field. On second, Rudi was blown up after picking up three yards by #99 Thomas.

3:20: Third-and-one, what do the Saints call. McAllister gets the hand-off up the middle. Sam Adams and Bryan Robinson blew up the line of scrimmage and Justin Smith dropped McAllister for no gain. Adams was in the backfield by the time McAllister got the hand-off -- it was fruitless after that for the running back. The Saints kick a field goal. GREAT JOB by the Bengals defensive front!!!! Score tied at 10.

3:16: On second-and-two, McAllister got the hand off to the left and picked up one yard setting up a third-and-one. I have to give props to Miller who seems like he's on every play today. Saints take their first timeout.

3:15: End of the third quarter. Browns are beating the Steelers 13-3. Nice. I don't much care for the Browns but if the Steelers lose, they'll be in last place. That always puts a smile on my face. If the Bengals and Browns hang on, this will be a great weekend for Ohio football in college and the pros. Nice.

3:13: After all that, Deuce, on first-and-ten, easily picks up eight yards to the Cincinnati six yard line.

3:11: The play wasn't overturned. Said he took three steps and it was complete. The radio guys are going nuts! The ball did come out, but not so sure it was complete. As soon as his first step was taken, Landon Johnson was hitting the receiver and not a split-second after that did Henderson drop the pass. But the refs see what they see, even though they're in the minority.

3:10: Henderson has eight receptions for 148 yards.

3:08: Nice play by Brees. Rolling out to the right, he couldn't find anyone open. Finally Henderson worked himself open and Brees threw across his body for 13 yards. Geathers hit Brees a millisecond after the pass was let go. Cincinnati is challenging the play.

3:05: After another play-fake pass to Henderson for five yards, Reggie Bush ran outside to the left and picked up four yards. Then on third-and-one, Brees handed off to Bush for the first down two-yard run. On first down, Brees dropped back and threw to his right where Joe Horn ran a seven yard up and out covered by Joseph. After the play, Williams was called for defensive holding setting up an automatic first down at the Bengals 39.

3:02: On first down, Brees fakes the hand off and throws over the middle to Henderson picking up 25 yards. He's now over 300 yards passing.

3:01: Again, on first down, the Bengals handoff to Rudi for two yards. OK, not a lot of yards, but this is a good rhythm. On second down, Palmer drops back and quickly pumps the pass to the right and forces the pass to T.J. in the end-zone. The pass was picked off by Simoneau (a linebacker) who dropped into coverage. Like both Brees' interceptions in the end-zone, Palmer must have not seen the linebacker dropping back.

2:58: Again, on first down, the Bengals handoff to Rudi. Rudi stopped at the line of scrimmage for a moment and found five yards. Second-and-two, Palmer drops back and throws to the right to Chris Henry. Henry ran a short crossing pattern underneath. Henry picked up six and the first down.

2:56: Bengals on first down, handoff to Rudi Johnson up the middle who bounced off one tackle picking up eight yards. See, this is why you run on first (of course!). On second-and-two, Palmer drops back and throws left to Chad running a hook route picking up 12 yards and a first down.

2:55: The sack by KK is his second of the game -- both coming on third downs forcing the Saints to punt.

2:54: On third-and-12, Brees in shotgun, KK came sprinting in on the blitz forcing Brees to move up in the pocket. Still with no one blocking KK, he just wrapped up Brees for the sack. Defensive stud of the game is KK -- by far. Saints punt.

2:52: After Bush picked up eight yards on first down, the Saints were called for a holding putting them back to 2nd-and-12. Then Brees threw a pass to Cooper who just wasn't ready for the pass. It should have been a big gain. Sweet. Third-and-12.

2:50: Drew Brees is 18/29 for 282 yards. Palmer is 7/14 for 131 yards and a touchdown.

2:48: On third-and-seven, Palmer dropped back and threw a bad pass to T.J. who had to go down to grab the pass. It was incomplete. On the play, T.J. had his head bounce off the defender and was very slow getting up. Our offense just can't get anything going today. They are 1 for 7 on third down conversions.

2:47: Quick pass to T.J. on first down -- his first catch of the game with 12:04 left in the third. After the nine yard pass to T.J., Palmer threw a nice pass to Chad Johnson for 25 yards. Carson Palmer was BLOWN UP after two guys in the secondary blitzed.

2:43: After Bush picked up three yards on first down, Brees threw a bad pass to Bush on a screen. The Bengals defenders did their best masking the pass and Bush didn't see the pass quick enough to make a move to catch it. Then on third down and seven, Brees threw to an open Joe Horn who dropped the pass after the initial hit by Williams. Saints punt.

2:41: Deuce McAllister picked up five yards on first down. On the play, his initial direction was completely clogged to the right. He looked and found a small hole on the left and pick up five. On second down, passed to Campbell who picked up 10 yards. He caught it well behind the first down marker but no one was around to drop him until he picked up 10. Then again, on first down and ten at the New Orleans 34, Brees completed a 23 yard pass to Henderson. He was WIDE OPEN WITH NO ONE AROUND. It's not like he ran a complicated route. He was standing still.

2:40: Half-time is over and the Saints have the ball at their own 19.

My adjustments.
- Run more on first down and stop this 3rd-and-11 and 3rd-and 7 crap. Try to chip the yardage rather than picking up large amounts at a time. Take out the end-around play and use it sparingly. Only call pass plays that are quick -- quick slants and outs. Palmer's offensive line isn't giving him good protection. On the other hand, the Bengals offensive line is dominating the Saints defensive front. To me, it looks like the way this offensive line is set up, it's better rushing.

HALF-TIME THOUGHTS AND STATS
- The Bengals defense has caused three turnovers so far -- two picks and a fumble. If you take away the turnovers, then the Bengals are being dominated. They are not pressuring the quarterback and Brees is picking the zone apart. Against the run, the Bengals are playing solid at best. But they aren't giving up big runs (only six yards is the max).

- Palmer is off, but it's not his fault. He's five for 11 for 98 yards. I can't put it all on Palmer though. He's had dropped receptions, a ball batted at the line and receivers running routes that's taking time to develop. Palmer, who's getting pressured big time, is being forced to throw way to early.

- Rudi started quickly. He's picked up 49 yards on 12 attempts.

2:25: INTERCEPTION KK!!!!! Brees dropped back and looked right the entire time. After a pump fake, he threw a HORRIBLE pass to Campbell. KK's pick is the second interception in the end-zone this game. So far this season, Williams has two interceptions in the end-zone and KK has three. Nice. The first half is over and the Bengals are winning 10-7.

2:24: Second-and-two with :33 left in the half, the Saints handed off to McAllister picking up a first down. The Saints rushed to the line and Brees spiked it. It's second-and-goal with :18 at the Bengals five-yard line.

2:20: Nice play by Andre Frazier who came blitzing forcing Brees to throw it out of bounds and incomplete. Then on second-and-ten, Brees dropped back and found a big hole in the zone picking up Henderson for 23 yards. I was always under the impression if you're going to run a zone, then you can't give the quarterback all day to pass.

2:20: The Saints offense is at the Bengals 40 yard line with :58 left in the half with a first-and-ten. Saints called timeout #1.

2:18: Nice play by Landon Johnson. The linebacker was on Henderson (a wide receiver) who was beaten by a step. Henderson caught the pass but, Landon running with him in the route, pulled Henderson's arm and dropped the pass.

2:17: Saints have the ball with two minutes left at their own 37.

2:13: On the first play after recovering the fumble, Palmer throws down the left sideline. Problem is Chad Johnson -- running deep was towards the middle of the field. Then on second down, the Saints ran a run blitz and dropped Rudi for a one-yard loss. Third and 11. Then Palmer dropped back and threw a short pass (no where near the first down marker) to Chad Johnson. CJ figured since it's no where near the first down marker, why catch it? He just dropped it. Again, the Bengals are putting their offense in bad position by throwing incompletes on first down. They are one for six on third down.

2:10: Fumble! BENGALS HAVE THE BALL. Brees passes to Cooper. Miller wrapped him and Jeanty forced the fumble out. Miller recovered. YES!

2:08: Nice play by Jeanty. Overloaded the weak side of Drew Brees and Jeanty came underneath and hit Brees while throwing forcing an incomplete.

2:04: So far, my nomination for dumb call of the game is the QB sneak. I don't understand how a QB with less than fast speed coming off a knee injury that's still getting hit in the pocket means to Bob that we should run a QB sneak up the middle in shotgun formation. Still amazed.

2:02: In shotgun, Palmer takes the snap and it was a QB DRAW??????? Okay???? When the Bengals got a first-and-five, Rudi gained two yards on two plays. Then on third-and-goal at the three, Palmer sneaked it while in shotgun formation (meaning it's another two-three yards back) and picked up nothing. Nice call, not! Graham kicks the field goal and the Bengals lead 10-7 off the Drew Brees interception.

1:57: This is Rudi's game. The Bengals can win if we keep pounding it with Rudi and Jeremi. The Saints rush defense doesn't look that tough.

1:56: After Rudi picked up a nice 14-yard run to the left and a four-yard run, Palmer finds Reggie Kelly, wide open running a fade to the left for 32 yards.

1:54: Question: Would you run Jeremi Johnson more? On first down, Jeremi Johnson was called on the fullback dive, hurdled a tackler and picked up six yards. Rudi, on second down, ran to the right edge and picked up five yards and the first first down since the opening drive. On first down, Palmer dropped back and threw a harmless pass to T.J. who wasn't even looking back at the pass. Palmer passed the ball way sooner than he wanted because he was dropped right after the pass by like three Saint rushers. Then to avoid a delay of game, the Bengals call a timeout.

1:49: MAD. WILLIAMS PICKED OFF THE PASS. For the second time this game, Brees is missing the underneath guy. It was a play-action and Brees tried to force it into Henderson who was towards the back of the end-zone. Williams was under and picked off the pass in the end-zone. He returned it to the 21-yard line. YES!

1:47: Brees, dropped back, with a crap load of time, threw to a wide-open Henderson for 44 yards. Joseph was on him but Henderson ran a crossing route. Joseph let him go and ran overtop of Tory James.

1:45: End of the first quarter. On the first of the final two plays of the quarter, Brees dropped back and pass to Henderson. Once he caught the pass, Tory James hit him causing the ball to get jarred lose. Settled down, it wasn't a big hit. The refs called it incomplete. Jeanty also helped create the incomplete. Then on second down, with no one covering #19, Brees just ripped it to #19 running a streak and picked up 10 yards.

1:41: Rudi ran twice (three yards on first, no gain on second) up the middle. On third down, Palmer dropped back and dumped it off to Watson for an amazing two yard gain. Wow. That was a great two yard third down play when seven is required. Bengals go for their third straight three-and-out. Bengals punt.

1:38: After picking up eight yards on two runs by McAllister and Bush, Brees dropped back on third down and tried to get the pass to Joe Horn. Caleb Miller was underneath and swatted the pass down (could have been a pick). After the Saints showed they were going for it on fourth and two, Sam Adams jumped off sides but the Saints never snapped it and took the delay of game. Bengals have the ball at the 20.

1:36: Why Ratliff will never be a good player. Brees quick passed to Stecker on third and four and was met in the backfield by Ratliff. Ratliff was clinging onto Stecker's legs when he pulled free and picked up the four yards for the first.

1:35: Nice play by Williams. On a play-action fake, Brees dumped it off to Stecker who dropped the pass after a hit from Williams.

1:34: Other than the coverage sack by KK, the Bengals defensive front is doing NOTHING against the good Saints offensive line.

1:32: The Bengals offense. Another three-and-out. After another stupid end-around to Chad Johnson that gained three yards, Chris Henry and Chad Johnson did their best impression of receivers playing without hands. The pass to Henry was low and the would have been first down reception by Chad just flopped out of his hands. I love end-arounds on first down. Why not Rudi? I don't know. Punt.

1:25: Brees handed off to McAllister who flipped the football back to Brees. What usually happens with a flea-flicker? Brees threw a hanging floater to the speedy Joe Horn (covered by Johnathan Joseph and Madieu Williams with Tory James in the area). Horn split the defenders and just out ran them. More embarrassing NFL footage with the Bengals defenders trailing after a good offensive play. Game tied at 7.

1:24: Saints touchdown. Brees

1:23: Colston is being carted off the field. He's likely out.

1:20: After Rudi ran six yards on first down, Palmer threw way too high to a stationary Chad Johnson. On third down, Andrew Whitworth was owned and Will Smith sacked Palmer. Three-and-out and the Bengals punt. When Rudi runs on first down, he's picked up six yards each. Smith used his speed on Whitworth getting around him on the outside.

1:17: After Colston was rolled up by Caleb Miller trying to tackle Deuce McAllister, the Saints were called for a false start. This was nice because the defense showed mad blitz. I'm not saying it caused the false start, but it made the Bengals look intimidating. Muhaha. Anyway, on second and nine, McAllister ran to the left and was gang-tackled by Jeanty, Miller and Robinson -- and a few more Bengals. Then on third down, Drew Brees sat in the pocket and held onto the ball too long finally being sacked by Kevin Kaesviharn. It was a nice coverage sack. Saints Punt.

1:10: The Saints, on the first possession, ran an end-around with Reggie Bush. The Bengals defense did a nice job staying at home -- especially Tory James. Yes, Tory James. He stayed at home and forced Bush to go inside and only pick up six. Why is this a big deal for me? Because it seems misdirection (mostly the end-around and reverse variety) burns the Bengals badly. Marques Colston is down and the game is at an injury timeout.

1:09: CBS showed the replay. Chad Johnson was lined up to the right. The play-fake brought the safety up at the same time Chad walked around the corner, who I think was looking into the backfield too. It was over after that. Chad just outsprinted the entire secondary.

1:06: After going run run for eight yards by Rudi Johnson on first and second, Carson Palmer, on three wide set with Chris Henry to the left, found a hole in the zone that Henry went up and grabbed. Then on first down, Palmer play fakes run to the right (looked like the run on first down on the first play of the game) and Carson ripped it to Chad Johnson outrunning the entire secondary. 41-yard touchdown and the Bengals lead 7-0.

1:03: Game on. The good news here is if the Bengals lose, they won't fall to last place. Cleveland and Pittsburgh play against each other so one's bound to lose anyway.

1:00: Bengals won the toss and are set to receive.

12:54: The state of Ohio had a great night last night. #1 Ohio State beat #2 Michigan. Then the University of Cincinnati beat undefeated Rutgers 30-11. Bengals?