OK, first off, let's just dump all this character talk momentarily. The win against Pittsburgh was awesome. When the team looked down and out, they rallied. When Pittsburgh's mistakes opened up opportunities, the Bengals pounced. I've never seen this version of the Bengals. Down and out, and find enough in the tank to come back and win. This just proves we don't need to be on our "A" game to succeed; something very foreign to Cincinnati since the late 80s.
If you remove the last game in 2005 (seriously, we conceded that game way before it began), the Bengals have won 9 of their past 11 regular-season games. Again, if you remove the last game in 2005, the Bengals have won their past six road games -- twice at Pittsburgh.
After three games this season, Rudi Johnson has rushed for 288 yards (currently 4th in the NFL). Johnson is on pace (1,536) to crush the team's single-season rushing record (1,458). However, through three games last season, Johnson had rushed for 300 yards and was on pace for 1,600 - his 2006 goal. After the third game last season, Johnson went four straight games without a 20+ carry game. Hopefully this time around, Rudi will be more involved in this four-game stretch run.
Rudi is tied with LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis and Charlie Frye (huh??) for the most rushing touchdowns (3).
All things considered, Carson Palmer's start this season is far better than we would have expected. Some projected he wouldn't get back until after the bye week. Others suggested he should sit out for the entire season. Having said that, Palmer's numbers have dropped from this time last season:
I can see you're getting ready to explain to me that opponents and conditions were vastly different last season. Minnesota and Cleveland were horrible and Chicago, along with a tough defense, was played in sloppy weather. This year, the Bengals took a very cautious approach against Kansas City (also very sloppy weather) and the Steelers have always been tough against Palmer. Either way, I'm just thrilled we have our superstar quarterback shredding his knee up and not missing a game. That's leadership fellas.
OK, what I'm going to tell you may shock you. Heck, it may make you re-read the next sentence. Alex Smith is tied for the league lead with most 25+ yard passes (10). Palmer only has five this season.
When someone tells you that the Bengals offense has a balanced attack, they're right. Since 2005, on first down, Rudi has 223 carries against Palmer's 229 pass attempts. On second down, Palmer passed 196 times against Rudi's 161 rush attempts.
However, that's a little misleading. If you break it up by halves, the first half is dominated by the passing game where Rudi tends to make his yards in the second half. See, offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski contends that this offense will pass to set up the run; not the popular belief that we run to set up the pass. You see it in the numbers. Carson Palmer has thrown in 54% of the offensive plays in the first half this season. Rudi has carried the ball 34% of the time. In the second half, with the Bengals running 85 offensive plays, Rudi has run 45% of the time while Palmer has thrown only 35% of the time. See, that's the way this team is. Throw early and run late.
What about Chad Johnson? Through the first three games this season, Chad has 12 receptions for 137 yards. When was the last time he started off so slowly? In 2002, as a sophomore, Johnson had five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. His best three-game start was last season catching 19 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. When Chad says he's growing up realizing the attention opposing defenses give him, I hope he means it. His numbers definitely support that.
Hey, got any numbers or stats that are interesting? Bring 'em up.