Did the Cincinnati Bengals still play down to the Raiders?
Yes. After scoring two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, the Bengals didn't score until there was 5:31 left in the third. After Rudi Johnson's first touchdown, the Bengals went fumble, interception and knee to end the half.
Luckily, the Raiders offense stinks so much that they couldn't capitalized on the Bengals turnovers. The Raiders ended drives after Bengals turnovers with a fumble, punt, field goal and downs. The Bengals gave the Raiders the ball off turnover four times and Oakland scored only three points. Oakland had a chance but couldn't do anything with the charitable Bengals offense.
So did the Bengals play down to the Raiders? I say yes. Luckily, the Raiders played further down to a level that no one else can accidentally fall into. All you have to do is look how the Raiders finished their drives all day: fumble, missed field goal, interception, punt, field goal, punt, downs, touchdown and downs. It was like a time machine watching the '02 Bengals vs. the '06 Bengals.
The game was truly won in the third quarter -- a very problematic quarter for the Bengals this season. After the Raiders went three-and-out to open the second half, the Bengals scored a touchdown on a 13-play 88-yard drive. On the next possession, the Raiders went seven plays but ended after an unsuccessful fourth-down try -- thank you Sam Adams. The Bengals then went five plays for 66 yards and sealed the game after a 20-yard touchdown reception by T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- Bengals lead at this point, 27-3.
So what's with all the milestones?
There were a few. CBS said that Sunday's 27-10 win over the Raiders was the first time in Bengals history they've had two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher.
Robert Geathers picked up two sacks giving him 10.5 for the season. Geathers is the first Bengal with 10+ sacks since Alfred Williams had 10 in 1992.
Chad Johnson's 101 yards receiving gave him 22 100-yard receiving games for his career. That put him past Isaac Curtis (21) for most in franchise history.
Rudi Johnson's 117 rushing yards gave him 17 100-yard rushing games for his career which ties James Brooks for second most in franchise history. Corey Dillon owns that record with 28 100-yard games.
Sunday's win is the first against the Oakland Raiders, during the regular season, since November 28th, 1993 (16-10). However, at the time they were the Los Angeles Raiders. So the last time the Bengals beat the Raiders while calling Oakland home was October 19th, 1975 (14-10).
Who were the biggest contributors for the win?
I will always say Rudi Johnson if he fulfills one of three objectives: rushes for 100 yards; has 30 rush attempts; rushes for two touchdowns. Robert Geathers had two sacks and Kevin Kaesviharn and Dexter Jackson each had one. The Bengals offensive line didn't allow a sack and blocked for Rudi Johnson (see two sentences above). Brian Simmons didn't get the start, but finished third on the team with five tackles, knocked the quarterback down twice, defended three passes and had the Bengals only interception. Rashad Jeanty had nine tackles (seven solo). Tory James even had six tackles -- but I'm not sure if that's a good thing, just shocked he hit someone else six times in a single game.
Carson Palmer may have had three interceptions, but this was a game where his accuracy was on. He hit his receivers in stride and only over-threw receivers on deep patterns. He had a couple of throws out of the flats, but made some great timing-route passes. He completed 70% of his passes for only the third time this season (71% Sunday) -- he had six all of last season. All three have come since November 12th against San Diego -- the game I feel the Bengals offense started looking like their '05 form.
Jeremi Johnson caught three passes for 23 yards. Coming into Sunday, he had only caught two passes for eight yards. After his one carry no yard gain Sunday, he's now two attempts short of his career-best 15 in 2003. I'm convinced once Lorenzo Neal retires, Jeremi Johnson will replace him as the annual no-brainer fullback in the Pro Bowl. It's O.K. to call me out as "homer" on that one.
When Chris Perry went on IR, the Bengals had a shortage of kickoff returners. Marvin Lewis and Darren Simmons put Glenn Holt in. He had a 28-yard kickoff return against Cleveland (that was the only kickoff by Cleveland) and a 24-yard return against Baltimore (again, the only one). Against Oakland, he had returns of 32 and 28 yards. For the season, Holt has four returns for 112 yards -- that's 28.0 yards per return which will be in the top-ten.
What happened to Chris Henry?
After catching a 23 yard pass converting a third-and-15 and an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8:40 left in the first quarter, Chris Henry didn't catch another pass.
So, what's next?
Here's the setup: Colts coming off a 44-17 loss, Indy will want a revenge-we-dont-suck-that-bad game against Cincinnati on Monday Night Football. After the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos lost Sunday, the Bengals have some breathing room and may lose that sense of urgency. Then again, it is Monday Night.