That definitely sucked. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I thought the Bengals were going to win (I totally thought they would!), but I was hoping that the Bengals would at least make it a good game. The fact is, the Bengals aren't ready to hang with the likes of the Ravens, who are obviously one of the better teams in the AFC and the NFL as a whole.
Here are my seven observations from Monday night's
beat down game:
|Point One: I think we'll be happy with the law firm|
We could all see the divorce of the Bengals and Cedric Benson coming from a mile away. The team brought in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, known as the The Law Firm, who was known for not fumbling and having a knack for picking up the tough yards. BJGE did exactly that last night. He finished with 91 yards on 18 carries, which is 5.1 yards per carry against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and scored a touchdown from six yards out on a tough run up the middle as he was dragging defensive players behind him.
I for one and not worried about the team's running game this year, especially since Bernard Scott should be coming back this week.
|Point Two: Andrew Hawkins is going to be fun to watch|
Besides A.J. Green, the Bengals' receivers are a mishmosh of no-name receivers. Andrew Hawkins isn't going to be a no-name receiver for very long. The guy is two steps quicker than anybody on the field and has the ability to turn a busted play into a touchdown every time he touches the ball. If nothing else, he's fun to watch.
It won't be long before teams try to figure out how to stop Green and Hawkins, especially if Jay Gruden can continue to be creative when it comes to how to use him.
|Point Three: Sophomore slump for Andy? I don't think so|
Yes, he threw a pick six.... but that was to Ed Reed who's probably scored a touchdown after intercepting every quarterback he's ever faced. He's a guaranteed hall of famer for a reason. All in all, Dalton looked good against the Ravens. He was accurate, he overthrew his deep threat a few times (arm strength?) and kept his composure against Ray Lewis and one of the toughest defenses around.
I think Andy Dalton is going to have just as good of a year, if not better, in 2012.
|Point Four: Geno Atkins|
Geno Atkins is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and I can't wait to watch him terrorize quarterbacks.
|Point Five: Rey Maualuga|
Rey Maualuga is not one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL. In fact, he's far from it. He is by far the most inconsistent player on the team. He'll have a couple good plays and then he'll get blown up and knocked on his back while Ray Rice walks past him into the end zone or he'll miss a receiver in the open field. Unless he pulls a 180 and plays well for the rest of the season, I could see him looking for a new team in 2013.
|Point Six: The secondary is going to be the team's biggest weakness|
Aside from Leon Hall, the Bengals don't have a top-notch cornerback, and Hall likely isn't back to 100 percent after his Achilles injury from last year. Nate Clements and Terence Newman are old and not able to cover receivers like they used to. Jason Allen wasn't able to take the field and Adam Jones obviously isn't the player he used to be either. Watching the Bengals secondary on Monday night made me desperate to see Dre Kirkpatrick on the field because he couldn't be much worse than what was out there and even he doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who could stick with a Torey Smith in man-to-man coverage. The Bengals just don't have a guy like that.
The safety play wasn't much better. Taylor Mays wasn't good in coverage and decided to give the Ravens a free first down and some extra yards after launching himself into a defenseless receiver. I think that the NFL has gotten soft when it comes to big hits, but at the same time, players know the rules and they need to play by them.
|Extra Point: Not ready yet|
The Bengals are good. Even this 44-13 ass whoopin' won't convince me otherwise, but I don't think they're quite there yet. The Ravens, on the other hand, look like a team that's primed to make a super bowl run this season. If the Bengals can find those missing pieces, maybe another offensive lineman, a middle linebacker, cornerback and safety, they could be in the same place.
Right now it looks like they're just not quite ready to hang with the big dogs in the league. I fully expect them to beat up on the Browns and to put the lesser teams in the league in their place, but I think they'll struggle with the better teams in the league.
I may be wrong, this may have been a freak loss and maybe they'll beat the crap out of the Ravens at home. The good thing is the season is just beginning so we don't really know what kind of team the Bengals will be in 2012.
I hope they show us good things.