Boy, this sure is a different team than many of us expected before the year started. It's like Trent Dilfer is our quarterback and we have one of the best defenses in the league or something. When did that happen? Don't you just wish it was 2005 when the Bengals had one of the best offenses in the league and a defense that relied almost entirely on takeaways to be successful? Man, that sure was fun to watch. The Bengals won the Superbowl that year right?
Today, Jimmy Clausen has been everything we've expected of him. He's barely thrown the ball and his one completion was a 11-yards-after-catch toss to a guy I've never heard of and will probably not hear of again. He threw an interception on an amazing diving play from Leon Hall and lost a fumble on a botched center-QB exchange, then another on a terrible QB-RB handoff. The defense has been pretty awesome. The Panthers have averaged 3.4 yards per carry, and that's with 26 of their 44 rushing yards (60%) coming on one play early in the game.
The Bengals offense hasn't looked so great either. Carson Palmer has been errant on at least 4 throws, receivers have dropped at least one ball (as has Carolina's defense) and receivers have fallen down on routes more than a few times. Dennis Roland cost the Bengals points at the end of the second quarter by forcing them to take a timeout after a false start (to prevent the 10 second runoff), and then was late getting to the line of scrimmage, preventing the Bengals from stopping the clock before time expired. Oh, Andre Smith and coaching, where art thou?
Still, Bengals lead by 10, even if it should be 13 or 17. Did I mention Dennis Roland is a big screw up? Man that guy sucks. Jermaine Gresham is my player of the first half. He's done a pretty nice job of blocking and has put forth excellent effort all half.
This game feels like it should be a Benson-fest, but run blocking hasn't been great. It needs to pick up in the second half so the Bengals can continue to wear down the clock and bank another win. And that Carolina defense will be tired. They've been on the field for 70% of the first half. Let's keep that up, and we'll move to 2-1.