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Film Review: Was Pulling Clint Boling In The First Quarter Justified?

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It's not so much that Frodo destroyed the ring, freeing Middle Earth from Sauron's endless shadow. It's that Aragorn's army deceived the dark lord into believing there was a frontal assault. Logic at the time would dictate that you don't open the massive impenetrable black gate; just destroy the two halfings and then reclaim the ring. Logic at the time would dictate that Khan would initiate the Genesis countdown and beam the device back into Regula, killing his obsession with Kirk and thus preventing him from impatiently diving head first into the Mutara Nebula which ultimately killed him. Stupid, Khan. Stupid. Hello, Voldemort. It's probably a good idea to retreat after Harry Potter just came back from the friggin' dead.

Even though being evil takes work, there has to be some effort to develop patience so you're not overreacting to something that could have long-term consequences tomorrow. Every time a fictitious baddie is provoked into battle, more times than not it becomes their ultimate undoing because they lack the patience for a long-term plan to develop. Was it wise for Mr. Smith to take on Neo after the bullet ridden Keanu Reeves comes back to life while the hallway bends against the rules of physics just before opening his hateful glare? And seriously, the instant Neo deflected Mr. Smith's attacks with a single hand, standing to the side as if he were boiling tea, it should have been a dire warning for the Agent to just leave... and quickly.

With 5:18 remaining in the first quarter, the Bengals are leading by three. From their own 40-yard line on second-and-ten, Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap and looks downfield. Defensive end Ray McDonald collides with right guard Clint Boling, bull rushing him into the quarterback. For those of you around during the preseason, this wasn't unlike the ice stakes Max Jean-Gilles wore. The bull rush knocked Boling backwards, nearly colliding into the rookie quarterback, who rolled out left and stopped after Parys Haralson disengaged Andrew Whitworth's block. Almost as cool as a veteran quarterback, Dalton threw it away conceding the play.

The Bengals replaced Clint Boling after the play with veteran Mike McGlynn, prompting the question, was that an overreaction? With 8:42 left in the third quarter, McGlynn, who actually played well enough, was badly bull rushed by McDonald into Dalton, forcing the quarterback to throw it away. With 14:10 remaining in the game, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Fancois shoved McGlynn backwards, nearly getting a hand on Dalton. McGlynn eventually recovered to ease the defensive tackle around the quarterback, opening a massive running lane to Dalton's right, picking up five yards on the scramble. Though McGlynn was actually decent, we just figure that Boling wasn't playing that poorly to be pulled and if he's going to be a future member of your team at some point, snaps are important. Let's examine Boling's first quarter.

First-Ten (15:00): Dalton completes a 10-yard pass to Andre Caldwell near the left sidelines. Clint Boling engaged defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who drove the right guard backwards during your standard bull rush. However the pressure didn't impact the play; Dalton released the pass after completing his five-step drop.

First-Ten (14:39): Cedric Benson picks up five yards rushing to the right. Boling engaged with Sopoaga and kept the defensive tackle stationary while the point of attack developed to Boling's right. Chris Pressley and Patrick Willis violently collided around Cincinnati's 31-yard line that largely limited Benson's running lane; however Sopoaga didn't impact the run, save for limiting a widening rushing lane.

Second-Five (14:02): Dalton completes a quick pass to Andre Caldwell for eight yards. After Dalton's three-step drop, the quarterback completed an eight-yard pass to Caldwell, running a hitch to the 49ers 39-yard line. With some help from Andre Smith, Boling prevented Ray McDonald from gathering too much penetration, giving up about two yards.

First-Ten (13:30): Benson runs to the right for a two-yard gain. Boling fires out from his three-point stance, looking for a linebacker to punish. NaVorro Bowman, on what appeared to be a run-blitz (we never know for sure), picked the wrong gap. Though Boling missed initial contact with Bowman, the guard recovered enough to push the inside linebacker to the ground.

Second-Eight (12:53): Dalton completes a 14-yard pass to Andre Caldwell. Andre Smith and Boling focused on Ray McDonald's pass rush before Ahmad Brooks sprinted around the outside. Smith, ever aware of what's going on around him, disengages McDonald and neutralizes Brooks. Boling, on the other hand, appeared to believe that Smith was going sticking around; an argument that might be supported with Cedric Benson targeting Brooks, who was only covering Benson in case the running back went into a route. That being said Dalton released the football, connecting with Andre Caldwell, just as McDonald was coiling up for the hit.

First-Ten (12:11): Andy Dalton completes an 18-yard pass to Andre Caldwell. Clint Boling supported Andre Smith on Ray McDonald, who didn't so much as gain a single yard on his pass rush.

First-Ten (11:37): Benson runs to the right for a six-yard gain. Boling fired out of his stance and engaged NaVorro Bowman, driving the linebacker three yards; Bowman's feet were actually sliding.

Second-Four (10:58): Dalton completes an 11-yard pass to tight end Donald Lee. Boling supported Cook, who managed nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, while keeping an eye open for blitzing linebackers.

First-Six (10:19): Benson runs to the right for a four yard gain to the 49ers two-yard line. This could be viewed as Boling's best block on the drive. After firing out from his three-point stance and assisting Andre Smith on Ray McDonald, Boling sealed the inside, neutralizing NaVorro Bowman and helping Kyle Cook on Isaac Sopoaga. Benson was tripped up in the backfield due to a missed Jermaine Gresham block, destabilizing the running back enough to knock him down. If that trip doesn't happen, the Bengals take a 7-0 lead.

Second-Two (9:38): Benson loses two yards on a run to the right. Boling locked up with Will Tukuafu, who wasn't having an easy time sliding to his left. The defensive tackle fought and fought but never created enough momentum that would have made a difference on the play. Ahmad Brooks shoved Jermaine Gresham into the backfield, colliding with Benson who forced the team to lose two yards.

Third-Four (8:47): Dalton incomplete pass into the endzone. Ray McDonald took an inside slant while San Francisco's linebackers stunted to their left. Boling and McDonald battled and just as the defensive end gained an advantage to track Dalton down from behind, who was rolling out at this point, Boling literally brought McDonald down for the three-count. It may have been holding; but as our old football coach says, if they don't catch you, it ain't holding.

First-Ten (7:14): Benson runs to the right for a three-yard gain. Boling fires out of his stance and immediately heads to the second level, finding NaVorro Bowman. As Boling latches onto the inside linebacker, Bowman sidestepped to his right and making the stop on Benson.

Second-seven (6:34): Andy Dalton completes an eight-yard pass to Andre Caldwell. Boling shadowed Ahmad Brooks, who ran upfield until Andre Smith did a "fee fi fo fum" while Kyle Cook, Nate Livings and Andre Whitworth each blocked their man. Absolutely no pressure.

First-Ten (5:56): Cedric Benson picks up a no-gain up the middle. Boling looked towards the second level to block someone and neutralized Patrick Willis.

Second-Ten (5:18): McDonald bull rushed Boling into Dalton, forcing the quarterback to roll out left. By this time Andrew Whitworth lost his guy, forcing Dalton to stop and throw the football out of bounds to avoid the quarterback sack.