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Gameday and Open Thread: Bengals @ Bills (Game #8)

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GAME: Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-4)
WHEN: Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Buffalo
BROADCAST: Ian Eagle, Solomon Wilcots. SIRIUS: 119 (Cin.), 146 (Buf.). DirectTV: 709. No DirectTV HD.
SB NATION: Buffalo Rumblings

NFL.com Game Center

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Bengals 21, Bills 33. Final.

[4:09] After an incomplete pass batted at the line, Watson picks up a screen pass for 16 yards. Now, it's garbage time. Incomplete, dump pass to DeDe Dorsey, 5-yard Maxwell reception, fan spinning around on the field and then, you guessed it, interception. One knee by the Bills and it's thankfully over.

[3:59] He's moving his legs. There is movement. I think he just got knocked silly and they're taking precautions. Which is a good thing. UPDATE: But they're taking a lot of precautions to think it's just a normal concussion. He was strapped to the gurney and loaded into the ambulance. UPDATE 2: The ambulance left before he was strapped to the gurney. He had a helmet-to-helmet hit and then his head hit the ground hard. They are wheeling him into the lockerrom via gurney.

[3:58] Chad has been laying face first in the dirt and is being carted off the field after a crushing blow on first-and-ten at the Cincinnati 39-yard line on the first play after the two minute warning.

[3:53] Palmer scrambles because he -- like a billion times the past two games -- holds the pass, holds the pass, holds the pass.

[3:49] After runs of four and -1, the Bills have third-and-seven at the Buffalo 31-yard line, Losman drops backs and hits a wide open Evans running a seam route. The pass, nearly perfect, split Dexter Jackson and Deltha O'Neal. Bengals used their second time out before this pass and have only one left in the game. Tick, tick, tick.

Bengals defense. I mean, really. What's left to say. After Lynch was hit by THREE GUYS (O'Neal, Jeanty, Smith) IN THE BACKFIELD, he spins around and runs for 56 yards.

[3:44] Bengals spent most of the second half under no-huddle, semi-hurry up offense. After a 12-yard screen pass to Watson, Palmer was dropped quickly forcing the incomplete pass. On second down, Palmer hands off to Watson and picks up about 2-3 yards.

Third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 38-yard line with just under five minutes left in the game. Palmer, in shotgun, takes the snap, looks right, then left, then scrambles right and nearly has the pass picked off on an attempt to Holt. Another punt. Same story with this offense. Struggle. Struggle. Today, there's no player that's stepping up at all.

[3:40] First-and-ten at the Cincinnati 32-yard line. Lynch goes for 7 yards, 5 yards (first down), 2 yards, 6 yards, 2 yards (first down), 3 yards then Lynch completes an eight-yard pass to Royal for the touchdown. Not a mistake. It was Lynch that completed the touchdown pass.

[3:32] Bengals were called for three penalties on the punt. They were called for guy going out of bounds, illegal man downfield and holding. Three separate penalties by three players. Wow. That's just awful. The Bills accepted the 10-yard hold after Larson punts into the wind for a legendary 39 yards. The Bills will start at the Bengals 32-yard line.

[3:30] On first-and-ten at the Bengals own 8-yard line, Rudi gets the handoff and falls three yards short of the line of scrimmage. Almost status quo these days with Rudi, it seems. He has 11 yards rushing on nine carries. On second down, at the five-yard line, Palmer hits Kelly for about 8 yards setting up a third-and-five at the 13-yard line. Palmer throws to the right intended for Holt. The pass was a floater. Wow. Another three-and-out. I wish this offense would actually do something consistently. It's almost like they score a touchdown, but only between several three-and-out possessions.

[3:25] Bengals have a chance to stop the Bills. After a two-yard Lynch run and a 7-yard pass to Reed, Losman throws incomplete for Reed. Three-and-out baby.

[3:21] On first down, Palmer fakes left and throws deep right to Chad. The pass was tipped and nearly picked. Incomplete. Heart attack not avoided. On second down, while calming the nerves, Palmer hands off to Watson for a minimal two-yard gain setting up a third-and-eight at the Cincinnati 22-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, throws left and hits Chad Johnson. He drops it. Just drops it. No reason. Just drops it. Lack of concentration. Afraid. Whatever. He drops it like a five-year old. That route he ran, if caught, would have easily turned into a massive gain... if not touchdown. So the Bengals offense goes three-and-out... and I wonder what that smell is in the kitchen with a very loud dishwasher. That can wait, I guess.

[3:16] UPDATE: Dishwasher working. I just kept turning off and then on and finally it kicked in. Any one know the reason for this? I don't (obviously). Perhaps I should get my hands dirty, but there's reason to avoid that. I mean, after this game is the Pats/Colts game and then it's the NASCAR race. Too much to do. Too little time.

The Bills set up with a first-and-ten at the Cincinnati 21-yard line after Lee Evans caught a 16-yard pass -- it was a simple skinny post over Deltha O'Neal. After a 3-yard Lynch run, Losman throws incomplete (after 10 seconds of protection) setting up a third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 20-yard line. Shotgun. Losman drops backs, looks, steps up in the pocket and overthrows Josh Reed. Field goal.

[3:11] More missed tackles allow McGee to take the kickoff return to the 42-yard line. After an eight-yard run by Lynch and a hold on Gaines, Losman drops back, pumps right and scrambles left for six yards setting up a third-and-six at the Buffalo 46-yard-line. Losman, in shotgun, looks right, looks left and scrambles to the right for a first down after picking up 13 yards on the ground.

[3:06] Palmer is 18/21, 194 yards, 2 TDs. On that drive, he was 6/6. Watson has six touches (4 rec., 2 rush) for 60 total yards.

[3:04] Alright, Bengals line up with first-and-goal at the Buffalo one-yard line. Scott Kooistra is in as an extra linemen for BIG formation. BIG! Palmer faked to Rudi left and hits Jeremi Johnson in the endzone. TOUCHDOWN!

[3:00] After Palmer completed a nine-yard pass to T.J., he hands off to Kenny Watson for about four yards and the first down. After a dump pass to Watson for four yards -- which I believe is another way for the Bengals to supplement rush attempts. Then Ghiaciuc thinks he has Schobel offsides and snaps the ball and Palmer takes a knee. Nope. Not offsides. Wasted down.

On third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 45-yard line, Palmer drops back and hits Chad Johnson down the right side lines. tap, tap. Chad caught the pass and let his body go limp. Great reception. After a three-yard gain by Watson, Palmer hits T.J. on the left and for a 17-yard pick up.

The offense is moving baby!

First-and-ten at the Buffalo 12-yard line. Palmer drops backs and hits Holt (flanked left) running about 5 yards and then out. The great pass on the timing pattern picked up five. On second, Palmer hands off to Rudi for a TOUCHDOWN!!!!

Nevermind. One official immediately called a touchdown. I guess that's overturned. It was short so hopefully Marvin doesn't challenge it. Bengals call a timeout. Awful. Just get the damned touchdown. Play clock was close though.

[2:54] I think the Bills are terrified of Holt. The Bills kicked the ball to the 29-yard line that forced a fair catch by Antonio Chatman.

[2:52] Sucks. Dishwasher on the brink. I turn it on and only hear a humming sound. My guess is that it's a motor issue. Suggestions for resolution?

[2:52] On the Bills fourth redzone visit of the game, on third-and-eight, Losman completes about a 7.5 yard pass. Just short. Bills kick a field goal.

Notes: Bengals 6 first downs. Bills 16 first downs.

[2:48] Bills Roscoe Parrish limps to the lockerroom for some injury. Bills, on first-and-ten, start at the Buffalo 43-yard line. After a six-yard pass to Reed, Lynch is hit at the line of scrimmage by Dexter Jackson for a limited gain. Third-and-four, Losman in shotgun, throws left to Lee Evans for a first down on the 10-yard play.

Actually, I'll do a better job summarizing this drive this way. The Bengals defense are missing at least one tackle per play. There is no front four. Losman has plenty of time to throw while sipping his cup of coffee.

[2:40] After an ineffective, end-around to Chad Johnson for one yard and a Stacy Andrews false start, the Bengals (at the Cincinnati 30-yard line run a screen play to the right for about a five yard gain setting up a third-and-ten at the Cincinnati 34-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, throws incomplete. Palmer throws the pass and McGee jumped Chad's in-route and nearly picked off the pass. Chad knocked the pass away for an incomplete. Nice. Three-and-out and Bengals punt. On the punt, Blue Adams is called for a late hit.

First half
Offense - Pretty bland right now. After their first touchdown on their first possession, the Bengals go three-and-out and then punt after a 12-play, 46 yard drive that yielded no results. Advice for the second half: Do something.

Defense - Bend and don't break is really applying the Bengals here. They are allowing plays that pick up tons of yards between the 20s. But once the Bills reach the redzone, the Bengals defense has stiffened. After allowing the opening touchdown, the Bengals defense forced a three-and-out and then pick. Then the Bills offense went on long-consecutive drives (15 and nine play drives) scoring field goals rather than touchdowns.

Even though they are allowing chunks of yards, the Bengals defense is doing a good job playing defense when it matters.

I'll be back when the second half fires up.

Stats, Stats, Stats

Palmer: 11/13, 131 yards, TD -- 134 passer rating
Losman: 17/24, 227 yards, TD, INT (Hall)

Rudi: seven carries, eight yards. No rush attempts by Kenny Watson.
Lynch: 12 carries, 41 yards.

Watson: 2 receptions, 46 yards
Chad: 2 receptions, 25 yards
T.J: 2 receptions, 19 yards, TD

Evans: 5 receptions, 118 yards, TD
Reed: 3 receptions, 34 yards

[2:22] Squib kick only ticks off two seconds. Go DEEP! One second, what the hell, you know? Knee. Half over.

[2:21] Bills start with first-and-ten at the Bills 34-yard line with 1:44 left in the half. Bengals defense just went through a 15-play Bills drive and are back on the field. After a 16-yard pass to Reed, a false start on the Bills, an 11-yard pass and incomplete, the Bills convert a third-and-four with a 23 yard pass to Evans. Nice catch by Evans. Joseph was all over his back. Bills, timeout.

Bills have :39 left in the half. First-and-ten at the Cincinnati 21-yard line. Losman drops back and dumps the pass off to #80-Schouman. Dhani Jones BLEW up the play making a tackle this defense hasn't seen all day. The one where it's not missed. The play, no gain, forced the Bills to take their second time out.

Bills, in shotgun, complete a 14-yard pass to Reed. The offense spiked the ball with :13 seconds left in the half at the Cincinnati 8-yard line. Losman, in shotgun, drops back and looks left, looks left and hits Reed at the two-yard line and call timeout #3.

Six seconds left and no time outs left, the Bills decide to kick the field goal.

[2:13] Brandon Bennett was the last kickoff return for touchdown in 2002. Second longest in Bengals history.

[2:11] TOUCHDOWN TOUCHDOWN TOUCHDOWN. Glenn Holt takes the kickoff 100 freaking yards for a TOUCHDOWN, TOUCHDOWN, TOUCHDOWN. Holt takes the kickoff, hits the seem hard. He forced one missed tackle but he wasn't touched. That was a HUGE seem. HUGE. TOUCHDOWN. 100 yard kickoff return for touchdown.

[2:05] After a short gain on first down, Lynch hands the second hand off on consecutive plays for four yards -- two rushes for seven yards.

Third-and-three at the Cincinnati five-yard line, Losman hands off to Lynch. Yeap, the Bills converted a long third-and-three by running the ball. The Bengals defense? Allows it to be converted. Frustration level rising.

Then at the one-yard line, Losman hands off to Lynch and Bryan Robinson blew by the line and hit Lynch in the backfield for a four yard loss.

Second-and-goal at the Cincinnati 5-yard line. Losman fakes the handoff and hits #86-Gaines for a two yard loss setting up a third-and-goal at the Cincinnati 3-yard line. Losman hands off to Lynch and Dhani Jones hits Lynch in the backfield and wraps his ankles for a two-yard loss.

Well done Bengals defense to hold the Bills on first-and-goal at the one-yard line eventually forcing the field goal.

[2:00] First and ten at the Bengals 26-yard line. Losman, drops back and pump fakes right. Robert Geathers with perfect position for the sack, jumps at the fake and Losman runs around the defensive end/linebacker hybrid for three yards. Awful, Geathers.

Then, on the next play, Losman drops back and sits 10 seconds in the pocket. 10 freaking seconds in the pocket. Finally, Losman finds Gaines for 11 yards.

[1:57] Bengals defense on the field. I'm scared. On first down, Losman hits Lynch in the flats to the right for a seven yard gain. Losman then hands off to Lynch on the right, cuts back left, and picks up 12 yards. Handoff. Lynch picks up another 11 yards. However, the Bills called for hold -- #82-Reed. Instead of the 11 yard pick up, the Bills have a first-and-12 at the Buffalo 42-yard line. In other words, the run picked up eight yards after walking off the penalty.

Tackling today is awful. Just awful.

On second-and-ten, after the 2-yard rush by #31-Wright, Losman fires to Evans. The pass hits Evans, but the Bengals smoked Evans forcing the incomplete. Third-and-ten, at the Buffalo 44-yard line, Losman, in shotgun has TONS OF TIME to scan the field and allow Evans to run 20 yards up then in. Wide open. Wide. Open. The play picks up 30 yards. I think that's the fourth 20+ yard play allowed by the Bengals defense.

[1:51] Rudi Johnson (as per NFL.com): Seven carries, eight yards.

[1:50] On first down, Palmer, under pressure, faked the handoff left and intended to roll out right. A Bills defender was in Palmer's face forcing the early throw to Daniel Coats for five yards. Then Rudi lost another yard setting up...

Third-and-seven at the Buffalo 49-yard line. Palmer's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Watson was over the middle about 10 yards from Palmer over the middle. The pass went incomplete. Bengals punt. Flag. Bills called for running into the kicker. Problem. Bengals are called for illegal formation with six on the line of scrimmage. Bengals kick again. Instead of a touchback like the original punt, Larson kicks to Parrish and returns to the 25-yard line.

[1:46] There's little run to run for the Bengals offense. Mostly, it seems, that one guy either goes unblocked or sheds one. After a one-yard loss by Rudi, Palmer completes a seven-yard pass to Reggie Kelly setting up...

Third-and-four at the Cincinnati 33-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun with Watson next to him, looks left and throws to Antonio Chatman. The pass was thrown under massive pressure -- falling down. Chatman got one foot down and then hit giving them the complete -- forced out called. First down.

[1:44] After a six-yard swing pass to Rudi Johnson on first down (before the second quarter), Palmer completes a pass to Chad Johnson on a quick hit. Chad lost the football out of bounds, but still picked up two yards.

Third-and-four at the Buffalo 22-yard line. Palmer drops back and throws to the first down marker on the right. T.J. hit the break after the pass was thrown, tap, tap. Great catch falling out of bounds for the first down.

[1:41] First quarter is over. Palmer is 5/6 for 93 yards passing and a touchdown. Watson and Rudi combine for six rushes for 17 yards. Nice balance. After the Bills opening drive that scored a touchdown, the Bengals defense forced a three-and-out and an interception.

[1:40] Starting their third drive on their own five-yard line, Rudi gets the hand off up the middle for nothing. Not much run for another rush attempt by Rudi for, at most, three yard setting up third down.

Third-and-seven at the Cincinnati 8-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, throws right on a bubble WR screen to Glenn Holt. A nice block by Stacy Andrews and T.J. Houshmandzadeh allows Glenn to pick up the first down.

[1:37] After a quick WR screen to the left that was blown up for a two-yard loss by Leon Hall, Losman dropped back and threw to Evans with Hall covering. Hall gave Evans, on the Bills' left, about 10 yards cushion on the line of scrimmage. Evans flew by Hall and if the pass hit Evans on stride, it would have been an easy touchdown. But that's not what happened.

Losman, on the pass, threw way short allowing Hall to turn around and pick off the pass. INTERCEPTION.

[1:35] After a quick hit to #80-Schouman for 10 yards, Lynch takes the handoff and sheds off a Frostee Rucker, wimpy wussy, tackle that could have lost a few yards. It went for a no-gain instead. On second down, Losman hits #86-Gaines for nine yards. Gaines ran a crossing pattern from right to left and picks up nine yards.

On third-and-one at the Buffalo 34-yard line, Losman drops back and floats a pass to the right. Finding a massive hole, #84-Royal found a hole fading to the right for 27 yards. Dexter Jackson was up on the line of scrimmage and slow getting back to the tight end.

[1:31] So far, both teams are 0-1 on third down. Herana-Daze Jones was hurt on the punt and walked under his own power. Jones is the leading Bengals special teams tackler.

[1:29] Bengals offense takes over at the Cincinnati 34-yard line. Rudi takes the handoff and runs right. Nice run by Rudi carrying tacklers. That's the old Rudi I remembered and loved! After the six-yard gain, Palmer hits Chad on a quick slant to the right and got BLOWN UP. Chad got hit by a linebacker. It was a helmet to helmet shot on the incomplete.

Third-and-four at the 40-yard line. Palmer, in shotgun, steps up in the pocket and then dumps it off to Watson who caught the pass about three yards short. Watson, instead of turning around and running, sat and danced for a split-second hoping for a mistackle. Fourth down. Bengals punt.

[1:24] After an incomplete down the left sidelines, Losman handed off to Lynch. Landon should have had the tackle in the backfield for about a five yard loss. Instead, Lynch picks up six yards.

Third-and-four at the Buffalo 37-yard line. Losman drops back, holds it, rolls out left, holds it, feels pressure and flung a punt-like pass. Incomplete. No pressure on the quarterback. Anyway, Bengals defense force a three-and-out. No joke. Seriously.

[1:22] MILESTONE: Bengals record for most consecutive games with a touchdown is Carl Pickens with 10 -- however, that spanned two seasons. No one has started the season with eight straight games with a touchdown.

[1:19] Bengals are second-and-nine at the Buffalo 15-yard line. Palmer drops back and throws over the middle to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for A TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!! T.J., flanked left, ran up and then in about 2 yards short of the endzone. After boxing out the defender, T.J. fell backwards in the endzone for his eighth consecutive game with a touchdown and his tenth of the season. WOOT!

[1:17] Alright, Bengals offense start at their own 21-yard line. On first down, Palmer drops back and looks to the right. Chad Johnson runs about 15 yards and then cuts in finding a hole in the zone. The Bengals pick up 24 yards. At the 45-yard line, Palmer pitches left to Watson for a few. Called back with illegal motion on Reggie Kelly -- motioned forward before the snap.

First-and-15, Rudi runs up the middle for nothing. On second down, Palmer fakes right and throws left to Kenny Watson on a screen. Ghiaciuc and Whitworth were the leading blockers and took out two Bills. Watson picked up 43 yards on the screen pass.

[1:11] The receiver, caught the ball and had both "toes" in the endzone. Touchdown. The Bills take a quick 7-0 lead. Man, the Bills moved the ball down the field with complete ease. Evans had three receptions for 65 yards receiving. Jee-sus. How depressing?

[1:09] First-and-goal from the Cincinnati 7-yard line. The Bills ran first and Lynch was stuffed by Dhani Jones for a one-yard loss. On second down, Losman floated a pass towards the back left pylon to Evans. Evans, running out (on the Bills left) caught the pass but it was ruled incomplete.

The Bills challenge.

[1:06] The Bills on first down, to start the game, go incomplete. J.P. Losman tried to hit a quick slant on the right, but the pass skipped to the receiver. Then on second down, Losman drops back and throws left to Lee Evans running a streak. The pass was well thrown over the receiver's shoulder. Johnathan Joseph was one step behind on the 38-yard pass.

On the next play, Losman threw deep to the left to Evans -- running an out route -- picking up another 19 yards. Wow, 38 then 19 on back-to-back passes.

On the first rushing play, Marshawn Lynch, was hit in the backfield by Michael Myers. Lynch shed off the tackle and picked up positive yards. Lynch took the handoff on the next play and cut back to the left -- the entire defense was moving towards the strong side -- and picked up another 10 yards.

[1:00] Coin toss. Cincinnati call heads. Flip is tails. Bengals defend south goal playing defense first. The Bengals are wearing all white (shirt and pants). They are 5-5 in that combination.

[12:58] I'm here today. I'm here to cheer, jeer, enchant, mock, encourage, question -- all that. So comment and cheer, or comment and jeer, either way, talk. What are we looking for? Obviously, a win. A rebounding offense. A reinvigorating defense. Life. Leadership. Anything to cheer.

Scoring

  • Losman completes 8-yard touchdown pass to Evans (Bills, 7-0)
  • Palmer completes 15-yard touchdown pass to Houshmandzadeh (7-7)
  • Lindell kicks 23-yard field goal just under two minute warning in the first half. (Bills, 10-7)
  • Holt returns kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown (Bengals, 14-10).
  • Lindell kicks 21-yard field goal with six seconds left in the half (Bengals, 14-13)
  • Lindell kicks 29-yard field goal (Bills, 16-14)
  • Palmer completes 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeremi Johnson (Bengals 21-16).
  • Lindell kicks 38-yard field goal (Bengals 21-19).
  • Lynch completes 8-yard pass to Royal (Bills, 26-21).
  • Lynch runs 56 yards for a touchdown (Bills, 33-21)

Penalty

  • Reggie Kelly, illegal motion. Moved towards the line of scrimmage during motion before the snap.
  • Stacy Andrews, false start on second half opening drive.
  • Blue Adams, personal foul, late hit on punt.

Turnovers (Bengals, +1)

  • Leon Hall picks off Losman pass.

Injury

  • Herana-Daze Jones walked under his own power on the Bengals first punt of the game.

PERSONNEL UPDATES: Thornton, Green OUT. Watson Starts.
Defensive tackle John Thornton, who has missed just one game in four-plus seasons with the Bengals, is inactive today for the game against the Bills. Thornton suffered a neck stinger at the end of the Steelers game last week. Also, punt return man/wide receiver Skyler Green is inactive. Wide receiver Antonio Chatman will return punts today. [Curnutte's Blog]
Even with Rudi Johnson active, Kenny Watson got his fifth straight start at running back. But with Watson coming off a concussion against the Steelers and Johnson dressing for the first time since his hamstring tightened Oct. 14 in Kansas City, the Bengals figure to rotate them. [Bengals.com]

Bills: Trent Edwards and Ashton Youboty are two of eight Bills inactive [NFL.com]

Inactive/Out: T Willie Anderson (knee), LB Ahmad Brooks (groin), LB Caleb Miller (back)

Uniform: White.

Weather: Cloudy. High 49F. Winds, 5-10 mph from the West [Weather.com]

Who's watching? As per this NFL distribution map.

Starters:

(D, Doubtful... Q, Questionable)

POS. Projected
QB Palmer
RB Watson
FB J.Johnson
WR C. Johnson
WR Houshmandzadeh
TE Kelly
LT Jones
LG Whitworth
C Ghiaciuc
RG Williams
RT Andrews
   
POS D
LE Robinson
DT Peko
DT M.Myers
RE Smith
WB L. Johnson
MB Schlegel
SB R.Geathers
SS Jackson
FS Williams
CB Joseph
CB O'Neal