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Bengals defense force 12 turnovers against the Ravens in season sweep

Peter King doesn't think highly of Chris Henry:
b. Why is Chris Henry on the Bengals? What more does this idiot have to do to get a one-way ticket out of town? The Bengals are enabling him.

I could go on a 20-page rant about this argument. I won't because the servers couldn't handle the awesome traffic from millions of people looking to dig into King like shooting a romp-rat on Tatooine. And for a guy that spends his days and nights talking football, it's shocking to me that his constant ramblings are allowed to mock the very thing he writes about. Then again, you sit back and think. Does he really know much and is he supposed to know much?

Think about it. What's his primary thing? He provides inside news from team's front offices and maybe a few bits of the Chancellor's thoughts on a certain issue. Does he really know football beyond the frightening obsession with the Patriots and Colts? He interviews well placed people, talks about himself more than Paris Hilton and throws softball questions half the velocity of Jennie Finch.

Here's another thing about King's latest MMQ. I understand that Josh Cribbs had an outstanding performance against the Steelers. King thought so much of Cribbs, that he made him the Special Teams Player of the Week -- FOR A LOSING TEAM. How can anyone be awarded anything if you lose the game. Shayne Graham, not only single-handedly (err, single-footedly) beat the Baltimore Ravens, but he had the second best performance by a place kicker this season in the league. And if it wasn't for Titans kicker, Rob Bironas, converting eight field goals in late October, then Graham would be tied with four other players in NFL history for most field goals in a game.

Perhaps the Bengals rub King the wrong way. Perhaps. In fact, he responded to a fan in 2005:

From Tony Bosch of Edgewood, Ky.: "Could you give credit where credit is due? Maybe the Vikes aren't that bad. Maybe the Bengals are really that good! Get over your Cincy-bias and get on the bandwagon now.''

Cincy bias? I love Cincinnati. Lived in Mount Washington for five years. Shopped at the Beechmont Mall. Loved Graeter's chocolate chip ice cream.

Nice dance. We're not talking about the city. We're talking about the team. And while I'm not going go point out every King article that spends more time complaining about the Bengals -- mostly because they are no longer the go-to joke -- most fans that monitor his work in the past few years know I'm right.

But back to that Henry mention. Here's the thing. The Bengals won't, nor shouldn't, cut Chris Henry. I have been as vocal about his conduct as anyone, but it makes more sense keeping him than cutting him. Why?

There's an argument I've been making on this blog since it's inception. It's that talent supercedes class. Teams must win now; ironically, dodging the dogging of national and local media. If you don't have talent, you don't win. Simple. The modern NFL, perhaps to some degree, the history, employs a talent first, class second mentality. They have to. They can't dig through the haystack for guys with incredible talent and better class. Most teams have to risk that troubled wide receiver, in the third round, with top-ten talent to build and maintain now. You have to win now and that means taking character risks. I've never slammed Lewis for that. Because if this team doesn't win, then we're bitching and complaining about losing and King muses incompetence while Hamilton County uses the Bengals as a political advantage during campaign season.

If you cut a player because of a history of off-the-field problems, you have to deal with dead money against the cap, worry about retribution from a players' union complaint -- though that's unlikely because we're seeing the Players' Union become more disconnected with current and veteran players -- and of course, this all depends on a player's visibility and productivity.

It's all screwed up if you ask me. It's the NFL's ultimate catch-22. So much money is tied into the sport that they need their superstars. They have to sell product.

But no, the Bengals are NOT enabling Henry. It's the NFL. It always has been. That's why Tank Johnson found a new address and that's why Henry will not be unemployed at this point in his career.

As Henry goes... Chris Henry has 28 career games under his belt. When he catches at least one pass, the Bengals are 15-8. Chris Henry fell one yard short of having his first back-to-back 100 yard-receiving games dating back to December 31, against the Steelers.

Red Zone Stat #1: Carson Palmer in the endzone: 4/10, 18 yards passing.

Red Zone Stat #2: The redzone found no exceptions in the balanced offense by the Bengals Sunday. Rudi Johnson and Kenny Watson combined for 10 rush attempts for 14 yards. Carson Palmer had 10 attempts on 11 passing plays called -- one was a fumble recovered by Whitworth.

Is this a Maddenism by Marvin Lewis?
"Shayne [Graham] had a good game."
- Lewis post-game press conference.

In the past few weeks, we've seen discussion about Marvin Lewis' game management decisions. But that's nothing compared to the revolt that's shaping in Baltimore. Rick Maese uses these strong words about Ravens' head coach, Brian Billick.

Pigskin repugnance - the foul sort that the Ravens have sold to fans these past couple of weeks - can be difficult to stomach. You wake up the morning after the latest embarrassment, a 21-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and there's really only one thing that sounds satisfying: the head coach's headset served up on a silver platter.

Rick concludes:

The only answer he has. The Ravens' problems are much bigger, their answers much more apparent. It's past time this franchise moves forward. To do that, it needs to part ways with the best coach the team has ever known.

Mike Preston from the same paper says:

It's time for Billick to either step back or step aside, but things can't remain status quo.

The Bengals might be 3-6, but they are 2-2 in the division.

The combination of the Bengals defense and Ravens offense led to a great day for Cincinnati. The Ravens offense recorded 10 drives with six ending in turnovers -- 2 picks, three fumbles and a turnover on downs. (Note: the fourth fumble was on kickoff return) But here's the noteworthy stat. Six Ravens' turnovers led to 18 of the Bengals 21 points.

  1. Turnover on downs -- 3 points.
  2. Interception -- End of Half
  3. Fumble -- 3 points.
  4. Fumble -- 3 points.
  5. Muffed Kickoff -- 3 points.
  6. Fumble -- 3 points.
  7. Interception -- Punt.

Updating opposing feature back numbers
Willis McGahee's 60 yards rushing on 17 attempts was the best performance against the run by our tough and powerful defense. McGahee's 3.53 yards-per-rush ties a season best -- Thomas Jones also had 3.53 yards-per-carry. In nine games, the Bengals have allowed the feature back to rush for 100 yards or more six times. Of the three that missed the 100-yard mark, McGahee accounts for two of them.

For the season... McNair.
Steve McNair's season-series numbers against the Bengals defense: 37/60, 331 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. He accounts for the Bengals two best performances this season.

Points off turnovers... or lack of.
This is the third straight game in which the Bengals did not allow any points after turning the ball over. In fact, this is the fourth straight game the Bengals turned the ball over only one time in a game. That is if you believe turnover on downs should count; apparently does not count those -- note the phrase, turnover on downs.

The fourth quarter rules all...
The Bengals consumed 11:14 in the fourth quarter, 20:44 in the second half and 35:42 for the game. By far, the best of any quarter, half and game to this point in the season.

Twenty, twenty, twenty... not 32.
Rudi Johnson's 22 rush attempts Sunday is only the second game this season with 20 carries or more. Worse: Sunday's performance (46 yards) is the worst in Rudi's career in which he rushed 20 times or more. The shutout over Cleveland on 11/26/06 held that distinction -- 25 rushes, 64 yards, TD.

I think the biggest disappointment in Rudi are his rushing touchdowns. He has none. For comparison, look when Rudi scored his first touchdown of that season and how many he had through week 10.

Season 1st TD # by week 10
2003 Week #5 5
2004 Week #1 5
2005 Week #1 3
2006 Week #1 7

One encouragement: Rudi Johnson can score touchdowns in bunches. Between week 11 (Indy) and week 15 (Detroit) in 2005, Rudi Johnson scored nine touchdowns -- four of that stretch of five games with two.
Another encouragement: it appears that he's nearly recovered from his early season injury with the pounding of 22 rushes. Then again, after that performance, is that encouraging at all?

Oh, Kenny, where art thou.
Between the Jets and Steelers, Kenny Watson rushed 50 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns (all against the Jets). Since then, 13 carries for 35 yards and no scores. I'm wondering if the concussion suffered against Pittsburgh is reasoning for his reduced participation and production.

Sticking with the rushing theme.
As a team, the Bengals rushed for 177 yards against the Jets. Since then against the Steelers, Bills and Ravens, the Bengals have 189 yards rushing combined.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh the past two weeks: ten receptions, 90 yards, TD. Think defenses are worrying about him lately?

First game without a touchdown.
Sunday was the first game this season Houshmandzadeh didn't score a touchdown. It was also the first game that Carson Palmer didn't pass for a touchdown since December 18, 2006 against the Colts. It was the first time the Bengals offense didn't score a touchdown since week 17 in 2005 -- if you count that considering that game was played with mostly backups. You have to go all the way back to September 26, 2004 (week #3) when the starters played the entire game and didn't score a touchdown. That was against the Ravens in a 23-9 loss -- Palmer threw 52 times.

Defense against the Ravens
I have to say, the Bengals defense simply dominated the Ravens this season. We can't say that about many teams, can we? The 272 total offensive yards, by the Ravens Sunday, is the best defensive performance by the Bengals this season. By a long shot. Of the 21 turnovers forced this season by the defense, 12 were against the Ravens.

Coming up.
The Bengals will host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday at 1 p.m. Thank goodness. Because the Bengals have NEVER beaten the Cardinals on the road.