Big Lead Sports Bar

11/13/2006

The Lost Art of Defense Part II: Rhoads Coaches Cincy Defense

I watched three football games this weekend: Pitt at UConn, San Diego at Cincy, and the Steelers-Saints game. If I ever saw a frightening display of the state of defense at the two highest levels of football, it was this trifecta. I'll recap in a convenient, three-part series.

ACT TWO: SAN DIEGO AT CINCINNATI
We move from the college game to the pros, so that means we should see some better defense, right? Right? I used to think San Diego had a strong D, but that must be an urban legend; either that or their entire D stayed home with Shawne Merriman and they let the backups play in this one.
The Bengals went to halftime up 28-7 on the Bolts, the capper being a 7 yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Chris "You're Not Puking In My Car Again" Henry with 16 ticks left on the clock in the half. For all intents and purposes, this game should have been over at that point. The Chargers defense went with the odd strategy of not covering Ocho Cinco under any circumstances in this game, and he responded with a subtle, 11-catch, 260-yard, 2-TD performance.
To maintain fan and TV interest, the teams changed uniforms at halftime. So that ferocious second half comeback that San Diego assembled was really Palmer, Johnson, and Johnson in the jerseys of Rivers, Tomlinson and McCardell.
Obviously that was a joke and didn't happen. I still can't explain the second half, though. My other theory is that the Bengals allowed Pitt Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads to call the schemes for the last two quarters, in a bit of a "guest star" role. And Rhoads played his cards just right: not only did Cincy squander their 21-point halftime lead, they gave up a total of 42 points in the second half en route to a 49-41 loss.
The L drops the Bengals to 4-5 after a 3-0 start, and presumably throws their team further into the depths of in-fighting and finger-pointing already present in their locker room. Their next game is against the Saints, so that means another game of nothing but offense on the horizon.
Here's some offensive stats to make your head spin:
Cincinnati: 545 yards of offense, 41 points
San Diego: 430 yards of offense, 49 points
Carson Palmer: 440 yards, 3 TDs
Philip Rivers: 337 yards, 3 TDs
Ladainian Tomlinson: 159 yards total offense, 4 TDs
Chad Johnson: 11 catches, 260 yards, 2 TDs
Malcolm Floyd; 5 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD
TJ Houshmandzadeh: 7 catches, 88 yards
Rudi Johnson: 85 yards rushing, 1 TD

1 comment:

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

I sent this exact text message to a buddy at the end of the 3rd Qtr of the SD-Cincy game:

"It looks like the Pitt defense has subbed for the bengals defense in the 2nd half."

And what's with the Bengals playing some cheesy "Who Dey" song after TD's? Just plain stupid.

What is never mentioned is that the entire "Who Dey" thing was stolen from the Saints' "Who Dat" chant which was started in 1987. "Who Dey" started with Ickey Woods and the Super Bowl-losing Bengals of 1988.