If you've read TMT before then you know that the whole point of the piece is to pick out seven things that I liked during the last game whether the Bengals won or lost. After four losses in a row, I've decided to change things up a little and pick out seven things that made me want to burn my tickets for the rest of the season. Here we go:
Kick in the face one: Awesomely bad play calling on third and short situations
Cedric Benson had a handful of nice carries on Sunday against the dolphins but when the Bengals found themselves in third and short situations (the last "S" in situations means more than one) it was decided that the Bengals should spread out the offense and throw for the first down like they were in the final two minutes of a game and down by seven. Not once was Benson given the ball to pick up a first down. I feel that it's getting to the point where Bob Bratkowski should decide what to do on a certain play and then do the exact opposite. Remember when George Costanza tried that?
Kick in the face two: Bengals didn't earn one of their touchdowns
The Bengals' first drive on Sunday was beautiful. It just showed what the can be and what should probably be. They completely earned their first touchdown. The second touchdown was a different story. On one particular play that resulted in a touchdown, Palmer threw deep to Chris Clemons - if you don't remember him it's because he plays for the Dolphins - who showcased why he plays cornerback and not wide receiver. Clemons tipped the ball up in the air and right into TO's arms. If you take away that one completely lucky play, the Bengals get beat 22-7. Half glass empty, I know.
Kick in the face three: the pass rush
Where did it go? There are 14 individual players who have just as many (6) or more sacks than the entire Bengals team. What's even worse than that is that on obvious passing downs, the Bengals rarely blitz anybody to help the defensive line get some pressure on the quarterback. They have only done it on a handful of occasions. Why? Every other team does it and it works for most of them. I'm fully expecting the Bengals to rush only one and drop 10 into coverage on Monday night against the Steelers.
Kick in the face four: dropped passes are missed opportunities
Jermaine Gresham dropped a couple passes that would have helped the Bengals on some of the what seemed like thousands of drives that went nowhere. I'm more willing to forgive him though. I am getting tired of forgiving Chad Ochocinco and TO for dropped passes or wrong routes or not keeping their feet in bounds. This is what they get paid to do and they are supposed to be two of the best at their jobs. Is it obvious that I am still really mad about the game?
Kick in the face five: no adjustments have been made..... ever
Football is a game of adjustment. When the Bengals came out and ran the no-huddle and moved the ball like a professional football team should on their first drive, the Dolphins adjusted their game plan to stop the no-huddle. It worked. Now, what most teams that are good do in situations like these is to adjust their game plan to their opponents adjustment. It just goes back and forth like that until there is a winner at the end of the game. Unfortunately, the Bengals coaching staff doesn't believe in adjustments. Their game plans are their babies and they'll be damned if some team is going to make them abandon their baby. Win or lose, they're not going to adjust to anything.
Kick in the face six: leaderless football is bad football
If I was forced to pick who the on the field leader was on the Bengals offense, I would have to pick Carson Palmer. The quarterback should always be the one in charge. The bad thing is I'm not so sure Palmer is very good at the whole leadership thing. Every once in a while you see him make his angry face (which is almost more cute than angry) when Chad runs the wrong route or decides that he doesn't want to catch the ball in traffic. Just once I would really love to see Carson grab somebody by the face mask and really jump on them.
Extra kick in the balls: nothing is happening
Somebody do something different. Obviously there is something very wrong with this football team that four days of practice before a game isn't going to fix. It is the time for drastic measures to be taken. Go back to the drawing board on offense and defense. Show some creativity in play calling. Give some other players a shot at getting on the field. Maybe they'll surprise people with how good they play and at worse maybe they'll motivate the guys who think they're untouchable to play a little harder. Somebody please, do something.