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Bengals struggle in California; Benson "doubtful" to play against Oakland

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Californeya has the internet gold rush. So the Bengals have broken several trends this year. They've swept the Steelers for the first time since 1998. Dating back to last year, they've won five straight road games for the first time in franchise history. With a win over the Cleveland Browns, the Bengals will go undefeated in the division for the first time in franchise history -- they've won five divisional games in only six seasons (2009, 2005, 1996, 1990, 1989, 1984).

Another trend remains. Games on the West Coast. Specifically, in California. The Bengals have lost 26 of 35 regular season games in California. Dating back to 1992, they've won only one of ten games. The Bengals history in California is terrible enough that if you take the Bengals all-time record and remove regular season games played in California, the Bengals all-time winning percentage jumps ten points. (Note: I'm a South Park junkie).

Larry Johnson could play Sunday. C Trent Rosecrans writes that Larry Johnson "said his first practice as a Bengal on Wednesday went smoothly, and he's just happy to be practicing." This is important because it's believed that Cedric Benson will miss Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders. Joe Reedy writes that "Benson did not practice for a second straight day, meaning that it is unlikely he will play on Sunday at Oakland." To be honest, I'm interested to see what Johnson can do behind this offensive line.

Moving on...

Great piece by Hobson, detailing the defense on third down.

Charles Robinson writes that Larry Johnson created enough of a disruption with the Chiefs, that he forced his way off the team and joined the 7-2 Bengals.

Don Banks lists Mike Zimmer as a potential head coaching candidate.

The job Zimmer has done with the Bengals defense this season speaks for itself, and if Cincy rides its magic carpet all the way to Miami, who knows how far it might advance a Zimmer candidacy? Strange as it sounds, Zimmer's time in front of the HBO cameras on "Hard Knocks'' probably raised his visibility level significantly within league circles, even though he was known as a quality teacher of the game long before last summer.

Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bernard Scott rushed the football 13 times. Geoff Hobson writes that the Bengals don't want to give Scott "that many touches any time soon."

Sad news: Chris Spielman's wife Stephanie passed away Thursday night.

How great has Kyle Cook been this year?

CNati's Scott Priestle takes a look at Dhani Jones.

Notes regarding the Bengals games in California.

All-Time Record 279 356 2 .440
Games in California 9 26 0 .257
All-Time Record w/o California 270 330 2 .450

Games played in California since 1968.

Season Location Result
2007 San Francisco L, 13-20
2003 Oakland L, 20-23
2003 San Diego W, 34-27
2001 San Diego L, 14-28
1998 Oakland L, 10-27
1996 San Francisco L, 21-28
1996 San Diego L, 14-27
1994 San Diego L, 10-27
1993 San Francisco L, 8-21
1992 San Diego L, 10-27
1990* Los Angeles L, 10-20
1990 San Diego W, 21-16
1990 Los Angeles (Rams) W, 34-31
1990 Los Angeles L, 7-24
1989 Los Angeles L, 7-28
1988 Los Angeles W, 45-21
1985 Los Angeles L, 6-13
1984 San Francisco L, 17-23
1982 San Diego L, 34-50
1981 San Diego W, 40-17
1980 Oakland L, 17-28
1978 Los Angeles (Rams) W, 20-19
1978 San Francisco L, 12-28
1978 San Diego L, 13-22
1977 San Diego L, 3-24
1976 Oakland L, 20-35
1975* Oakland L, 28-31
1974 San Francisco W, 21-3
1974 Oakland L, 27-30
1973 San Diego W, 20-13
1972 Los Angeles (Rams) L, 12-15
1971 Oakland L, 27-31
1970 San Diego W, 17-14
1969 San Diego L, 14-21
1969 Oakland L, 17-37
1968 Oakland L, 10-31
1968 San Diego L, 13-29
* Playoff game.