You know, no matter how much you study and no matter how much film you watch, the outcome of a game is unpredictable. That is the great thing about this game, because if you did know then there would be no reason to play it or watch it. That's the old cliché that's why they play the game! The Cincinnati Bengals are a perfect example of what I am talking about: They play the Cleveland Browns the week before and look like a 1-4 team, Denver comes in 5-1 and probably shouldn't have lost the game that they lost, their defense is ranked first in the league. That leaves you with a matchup that looks like one of the best teams in the AFC versus one of the worst teams in the AFC. But that doesn't mean that you just give the Broncos a win and the Bengals a loss and that's the greatness of the NFL, but you also have to be reminded of it from time to time.
I was impressed with the Bengals, they came out and just attacked the Broncos defense. You know sometimes you get a defense that is ranked first and the offense shows them a little too much respect, they kind of pull in their horns, simplify their game plan and Cincinnati did just the opposite. They came out with a deep pass to Chad Johnson
early to show the Broncos what they might be up against.
|2004 SEASON STATISTICS|
Now, they missed that but it sent the message that they weren't scared of the their No. 1 ranking or Champ Bailey
. Another area that was a strength for the Bengals last season was their offensive line: They have been hurt this year and that makes it difficult to get consistent but last night I thought they did a really good job of giving Carson Palmer
time to make his reads and make the throws as well as Rudi Johnson
holes to run through. Early in the year their defense had some problems with their fundamentals and tackling and in fact during their bye week that was one of their main focuses and Monday night it paid off! I really felt like Brian Simmons
their weak-side linebacker played well, Duane Clemons
played really well and of course, both of their starting corners, Deltha O'Neal
and Tory James
, both former Broncos, played well and each got and interception that led to great field position for the Bengals offense. All in all their defense forced three turnovers that turned into nine points.
The Broncos just never looked like they were able to get anything going, they were never able to get into a rhythm. They would look like they were going to get going and then take a penalty or an incomplete pass that would stall a drive. They just couldn't get anything going! Defensively I felt like they got put back on their heels early and never really regained their aggressiveness.
One area that is often overlooked and Cincinnati really executed well on was special teams. Every facet was well played, they had good returns on both punts and kickoffs, their punt and kickoff coverage teams did a good job and played a very inspired aggressive game.
Denver always prides themselves on their pace and against the Bengals their pace was out matched on both sides of the ball as well as on special teams.