I still believe that the Bengals defense is good. And I believe they played well Thursday night. On St. Louis' first possession, the Rams took the ball 76 yards on 11 snaps. After that, St. Louis never recorded a possession longer than 39 yards or more than six plays. And on every point scored after the Rams' initial touchdown, St. Louis started their scoring drives on the Bengals side of the field. This obviously doesn't include the fumble return for touchdown, which of course, isn't the defense's fault.
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Leading the way was linebacker Rey Maualuga, who recorded a team-high eight tackles. Robert Geathers recorded two tackles for loss and five different Bengals players made hits on the quarterback. No sacks were recorded; however it should be also noted that the Rams' passing offense was primarily quick three-step drops and release. Rashad Jeanty's coverage skills are very good -- on one pass, he was in the tight end's hip, but the pass was perfect. Sometimes you just can't defend against a perfect pass.
However, don't ask James Walker, who says: "St. Louis had a short field on second scoring drive. But Cincinnati failed to hold the Rams to a field goal, which is what elite defenses do." Funny. I thought elite defenses were elite because they'd prevent the opposing from scoring. But now I'm being trivial.
Quan Cosby returned a punt 49 yards for a touchdown and Tom Nelson returned another punt 44 yards. If the battle between Nelson and Cosby results in a roster spot, then I believe Nelson gets it hands down because he brings more to the table. Not only can he return punts, but he's playing safety and can play at cornerback.
Cosby's punt return for touchdown was the first since Peter Warrick's return against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2003.
Chinedum Ndukwe and Laveranues Coles injured their shoulders against the Rams, but Lewis "indicated they weren't serious." Ndukwe started in place of an injured Chris Crocker who sat out with a hamstring injury.
Four turnovers by the Bengals offense led to 17 points for the St. Louis Rams.
Nate is worried about Cedric Benson's 3.2 yards-per-rush average through three preseason games. This is where stats are misleading. Even though Benson has rushed 23 times for 73 yards rushing, he's on pace for 1,168 yards rushing. Great? No. Serviceable? Yea. Furthermore, running backs need rhythm. They get the bulk of their yardage later in the game when defenses start tiring out and the winning team needs to absorb the clock.
Joe Reedy says that pass protection is a major concern. I agree. And I believe that the offensive line is problematic. However, watching some of the first half, I noticed that when the Rams had a successful push, the issue was just as much scheme, as it was actual personnel. In other words, there were several four WR formations with five offensive linemen blocking. The Rams would blitz, and the Bengals just didn't have enough blockers. Communication and awareness could be the major culprits.
Frostee Rucker has talent, but we get the feeling he won't make the squad because of injury. He missed Thursday night's game.
Bernard Scott coffed up a fumble on his first carry of the game.
Scott got stopped for a yard by safety Oshiomongho Atogwe, but Scott kept trying to get another yard or two and with Scott standing straight up, Atogwe punched the ball out and safety James Butler collected it to start his 73-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 lead.
The 54-yard touchdown pass by Henry was a setup after the Rams' Quincy Butler returned an interception 68 yards.
"We kind of set him up," Henry said. "We ran a play. Jordan hit a tight end in Cover 2 and I guess (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski) saw something upstairs. This time they gave me a double-move. I had to stutter him. He broke like he was going to get the interception. It was a lazy route. I baited him and I took it to the 9 (route). It was open."
Who Dey Fans thought the best throw by O'Sullivan all night was the 23-yard throw to Andre Caldwell.
Paul Daugherty complains | WDR congratulates you, taking credit for the boycott that blacked out the game.