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Bengals offense is historically stronger in the second game than the first

"So much for the idea Cincinnati solved its offensive problems in the offseason." This was a USA Today blog post after one game. One game. Did the Bengals stink offensively? Tentatively speaking, they did some good things, did some bad things. Carson Palmer was rusty, but after missing 15 of the past 20 games (including the preseason), he wasn't as bad as he could have been. Were the receivers not stepping up? Collectively, you could say that; though Andre Caldwell and Chad Ochocinco looked good. Did Palmer feel pressure? Sometimes. Did the lack of a rushing offense upset the dynamics on the offense? Maybe. Whatever you, I or our mothers concluded after Sunday, you can't lay blame at any one thing. Did Palmer step up? Bengals were down 6-0 when he led the offense over 90 yards for the touchdown. He would be credited with a comeback win, engineering a late fourth quarter drive; isn't that something Bengals fans have complained about in the past? Bengals took the lead. Fluke play later and we're back to square one. But the offense shouldn't have gotten to that point; we should have scored at least 20 points by that point in the game. Fair enough.

But did you know that the Bengals offensively put up their third best performance during opening weekend? Of course, the NFL defines total offense as in total yards. You and I know that points is all that matters. But that's not the point. We're going to chart the team's first week performance against the second week performances. And I think you'll be going into Sunday with bit more hopeful.

First Week since 2003.

Season Score Yards (Total) Passing (net) Rushing
2009 L, 7-12 307 221 75
2008 L, 10-17 154 84 70
2007 W, 27-20 236 181 55
2006 W, 23-10 236 120 116
2005 W, 27-13 420 272 148
2004 L, 24-31 351 238 113
2003 L, 10-30 294 243 51

If the Bengals look to rebound in week two, all they need to do is look back through the seasons to see that they've historically done it. If you take out the second week in 2008 when Hurricane Ike swept through and left all of us powerless for weeks, the Bengals have recorded at least a win and/or a pretty good offensive performance. Twice they reached the 500-yard mark.

Season Score Yards (Total) Passing (net) Rushing
2008 Titans 24, Bengals 7 215 127 88
2007 Browns 51, Bengals 45 531 394 137
2006 Bengals 34, Browns 17 481 244 57
2005 Bengals 37, Vikings 8 504 337 167
2004 Bengals 16, Dolphins 13 210 116 94
2003 Raiders 23, Bengals 20 416 287 129

So I caution those that are pushing children out of the way to get off the bandwagon. True, historically, the Bengals offense hasn't been in sync during kickoff weekend. But in the second week, oh boy. Look for some points this Sunday.