One of the more pressing questions during the Bengals 12-7 loss is, where the hell went Chris Henry? With 11:23 left in the first quarter, the Bengals lined up at their own 13-yard line on third-and-nine. In shotgun, Carson Palmer turned and threw to his right, where Henry sat in a wide-open zone caught the pass, picked up 18 yards and the first down. Bengals fans cheered. Palmer's back, we shouted. However, in the remaining 56-plus minutes remaining in the game, Henry wasn't just shutout for the rest of the game, he wasn't even the intended receiver -- unless you want to include the hail mary to end the game.
So, what happened with Henry? It wasn't like he wasn't on the field, he was. When it was evident that Laveranues Coles just wasn't playing at the top of his form, Henry often lined up opposite of Chad Ochocinco. In the words of Carson Palmer, Henry had a ton of routes going deep and the Denver Broncos anticipated this.
“They weren’t going to let the ball go over their heads. They played two deep safeties — as deep as a safety that I’ve ever seen. Their mind set was to not let us throw the ball downfield. We tried to a number of times, but you just can’t force it. We had Chris on a number of deep routes, but if he’s double covered ... You have to take your shots when the shots are there. You can’t take shots just to take shots. They came with that mindset, and they did a good job. They have two really good cover corners and an experienced safety in (Brian) Dawkins. They lined up 25 yards deep and started backpedaling. They weren’t going to let the ball go over their heads. They wanted to keep the ball in front of them, and they did a good job of that.”
“I think one ball and one catch is a pretty good day. You can’t tell who is going to get the ball thrown to them. They’re playing the coverage and the quarterback is going to deliver the ball based on the coverage. You aren’t going to be able to dictate the number of balls a receiver is going to catch in a day.”
The greater question heading into week two is, should we be more worried about Laveranues Coles? Carson Palmer says, "I don’t have a worry in the world about Laveranues. He dropped the ball, but I missed plenty of balls, we missed blocks — a number of things happened offensively. Knowing Laveranues, and knowing the type of pro he is, he’ll come in with the right type of mindset and shake it off. You won’t see that from him again.”
On the bright side, Chad Ochocinco seems to be on track, already beating his season high 79 yards receiving against the Colts a year ago with an 89-yard effort on Sunday. And Andre Caldwell is going to be a good one.