Yes, I think both of these teams are underachievers. The Bengals and Jets both had high hopes entering this season. Cincinnati just two seasons removed from a division title and the Jets coming off a playoff appearance last year. But Sunday, they squared off, both teams sporting only one win on the season.
The first half seemed to be a continuation of the 4 game losing streak for the Bengals, they gave up big plays to the Jets offense, even a long ball from Pennington (who rarely is able to do that) and making loads of mental mistakes as well. The Bengals went into the locker room 20-10 and seemed to have given up. Well, whatever happened at the half sure shook things up because the team came out invigorated in the second half. The Bengals ran the ball, and often to Kenny Watson i the second half, played bend but don’t break defense and wound up on the winning side of a 38-31 score.
Let’s take another look at our keys to victory from our game preview and see how things shook out…..
- Bengals Offensive Line – Big Willie should return this week, but they simply have to take better care of Palmer, I really think that the majority of Carson’s big mistakes happen when under pressure and if Levi Jones pulls that “human turnstileâ€ move again this week Palmer could get hurt badly. The line also needs to open holes for Rudi and Kenny Watson. Watson had holes to run through, sometimes big ones and answered with a huge day which included 3 TDs. The line also protected Palmer much better only allowing one sack.
- Leon Hall & Jonathan Joseph – These two young corners have to step things up this week facing two talented wideouts in Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles. Cotchery is the home run threat and Coles the steady vet and our young corners need to silence them this weekend. After a few whiffs in the first half, both young corners made plays to help Cincy win. Hall broke up a would be Pennington to Coles TD in the first half and Joseph snagged his first career interception which he took to the house for 6.
- Bengals Pass Rush – I would love it if this week was the end for Chad Pennington. Not due to injury but due to ineffectiveness. Pennington is already on the hot seat with young gun Kellen Clemens poised to take over and if the Bengals can really put pressure on Pennington, he does not have the athletic ability to overcome it. Justin Smith actually had a sack and a half last week, lets see if he can get another. The pass rush did get 2 sacks but most of the day Pennington had lots of time to throw.
While I am really happy the Bengals pulled this one out, lets not get confused. The Jets are a bad team and the Bengals barely held on to this win. That being said, it is Steeler week and a win against the hated Squeelers would mean alot.