While the Bengals' week two loss to the Denver Broncos was an encouraging loss, if there is such a thing, the week three loss to the San Francisco 49ers was just a plain and frustrating loss. Both the 49ers and the Bengals looked sloppy and bad and for the first time in his career, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton looked like a rookie. The third game of the season brought many Bengals fans back to where they were during the preseason and before.
But, not matter how bad a game is there's always a player or two that stand out and give solid performances. Like last week, we'll start with our picks for MVP.
Naji Bsisu's MVP:
"Andre Caldwell - The Bengals needed a receiver to step up after Jordan Shipley went down. Combined with the uncertainty around Jerome Simpson it was nice to see Caldwell rise to the occasion. He led all receivers with six receptions for 53 yards."
- It was nice to see Caldwell step up and produce for the team. With all the uncertainty still surrounding current No. 2 receiver Jerome Simpson it's nice to know that Caldwell can fill his shoes. Remember, Caldwell, like Simpson, is in the final year of his rookie contract and he has something to prove. Not to sound like he's happy about Jordan Shipley's injury or Simpson's situation, but those events could be his best shot to earn a second contract.
Joe Goodberry's MVP:
"Jonathan Fanene provided an instant impact by sacking Alex Smith on their first drive. He's been starting at LDE for the injured Robert Geathers. Fanene also slide inside on passing downs to give the Bengals a formidable nickel defensive line. He ender the game with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Three impact plays on a defensive unit that played extremely well for 90 percent of the game."
- I'm sure that the majority of Bengals fans would like to see more Carlos Dunlap but Fanene played well as Geathers backup on Sunday. He had two of the Bengals' five sack on Alex Smith and recovered the fumble caused by middle linebacker Rey Maualuga. It's safe to say that Fanene's presence makes the defensive line the deepest section of the Bengals depth chart.
Anthony Cosenza's MVP:
"Frostee Rucker. Besides some idiotic penalties by this guy, he was in the backfield all day as a major contributor to the five sacks of Alex Smith and the ineffectiveness of their running attack. Everytime this guy is rotated in he makes a big play or two in the game. The penalties of his hurt, but his big plays made him a catalyst of the defense."
- Rucker is another player that adds depth to the defensive front seven. He had one of the Bengals' five sacks. This is the last year of Rucker's contract and he started to make a fairly strong case to be re-signed once the season is over against the 49ers. Hopefully he keeps it up.
Dave Wellman's MVP:
"Bernard Scott. In Sundays game, Scott was an absolute monster on the sidelines. The way he didn't strangle the life out of Marvin Lewis after Lewis promised he'd find a way to get him involved earlier in the week showed dedication and discipline. And about midway through the third quarter, he made a great block at the Gatorade cooler, fending off Carlos Dunlap so Andy Dalton could fill his cup. I look for big things out of Scott in the coming weeks, including leading cheers with the Ben-Gals and keeping his fellow teammates updated on their fantasy football teams. Bernard Scott fever...catch it!"
- Bernard Scott's absence on the field has been disappointing and confusing for almost every Bengals fan, especially after Lewis' comments that he takes the blame for Scott's lack of playing time. Scott
iscould be a very productive and versatile running back that could be used in so many ways. Unfortunately the Bengals haven't discovered what those ways will be yet. At this point it's safe to say that they never will.
And now to the Goats.
Naji Bsisu's Goat:
"Andy Dalton - This does not mean that I do not have high hopes for Dalton or that I think he is the reason we lost. He's the goat solely for the reason that the Bengals offense was unable to find a rhythm all game and struggled to score touchdowns in the red-zone and ultimately that is the quarterbacks responsibility."
- For the first time, the Bengals' rookie quarterback looked like a rookie. On the first drive of the game, Dalton, along with the rest of the Bengals offense looked great, driving down the field with ease and they capped it off with a field goal. From that point on, though, they just never seemed to click again. They only converted on one of 10 third downs and Dalton threw two interceptions late in the game. I don't think Dalton deserves to take the blame mainly because he's a rookie but I do hope he plays better this week against the Bills.
Joe Goodberry's Goat:
"Jay Gruden: The Bengals first drive was scripted beautifully. It had a perfect balance of run to pass with a good mix of play-action passes and quick throws. After that, Jay Gruden had a hard time finding the running plays on yhe play-sheet. They threw the ball over 30 times and only gave Cedric Benson 17 carries in a close game. Not only that, but this team hasn't found a way to use some of their biggest mismatches to their advantage. Bernard Scott and Jermaine Gresham need to be involved in the weekly game-plan. Their absence in costing this team valuable advantages over any defense they face. I'm down to eventually throw the ball 30+ times a game, but this team snot there yet."
- Jay Gruden, like the biggest names on his offense, is also a rookie. This is his first year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL and there are sure to be some growing pains. However, the lack of Jermaine Gresham in the last two weeks and Bernard Scott all season could be blamed on him. Buffalo is coming into Paul Brown Stadium as the only team that the Raiders have played that have held Darren McFadden to under
a billionone hundred yards and they picked off Tom Brady four times. Gruden better be ready for them.
Anthony Cosenza's Goat:
"Marvin Lewis. Horrendous coaching in this game. We all knew that Mike Zimmer would get his unit back in shape from their bad showing in Denver (which he did), but Gruden's offense was a non-factor, and Lewis made a major blunder before the half by sitting on the ball and not doing anything with it although the team had three timeouts. He claimed he'd use Bernard Scott more and he had two carries the entire game. Though the penalties have been drastically cut in the first three games this year, some mental mistakes occurred that continually put their rookie quarterback in 3rd and VERY long situations. They did not make the adjustments from last game to be better on third downs on offense. Just not a good showing for a home opener with a winnable game."
- We all know how Anthony feels about the decision to let the clock run out at the end of the first half and Scott doing nothing but standing on the sidelines. This just wasn't one of those games that Marvin Lewis looked like a coaching genius, like when.... um..... er....
Dave Wellman's Goat:
"Jerome Simpson. Really, who else could be the Goat of the Week this week? Eight and a half pounds of weed? What. The. Bleep????? Way to just obliterate what little momentum and good-feeling this team, still trying pull out of the wreckage of l'affair Palmer, had managed to cobble together. Runner-up: Roger Goodell. Roger, may you meet Cedric Benson all alone on a Texas street corner at 5 a.m. some day..."
- If the Bengals were distracted on Sunday then we all know what the source of that distraction was. Really, if Simpson was not in the situation he is right now, Caldwell wouldn't have to move to the outside and Dalton doesn't have to get used to another receiver. Even though the Bengals players may say that they're not thinking about it and they're focusing on the game, they are thinking about it and even though it may not be the reason they lost, it probably had a little something to do with it.
- And just so everybody knows, Dave wins my award for best MVP/Goat picks and explanations for week three.