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Falcons Talon Bengals 39-32

 

2-4.  Ugh.  The Bengals drop a shoot-out in the ATL, and head back home to Cincinnati 2 games under .500, and 3 games behind the Steelers in the division race. 

First half:

The Bengals looked like they had all year long–sluggish and sloppy–to start off Sunday’s game at Atlanta.  Sleepwalking their way through some poor execution and play calling, the Cats found themselves down 24-3 at the half.

The offense couldn’t move the ball with any consistency, and penalties continued to be a drive-killer.  On defense, they simply could not cover Roddy White, and couldn’t tackle Michael Turner.

Atlanta opened the scoring on their first drive, going 83 yards in 8 plays, capped by a 3-yard toss from Falcons QB Matt Ryan to WR Brian Finneran.  After trading punts, the Bengals put together a solid drive aided by a 43-yard pass interference penalty that set them up with first-and-goal at the Atlanta 3-yard line.  But Cincinnati couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for Mike Nugent’s 20-yard field goal and a 7-3 score at the end of the first quarter.

The Falcons blew it open in the second, starting with a 45-yard fied goal by Matt Bryant and a 10-3 advantage.  On the next Cincinnati drive the Bengals avoided disaster when a ruled fumble by Cedric Benson that was returned for a touchdown was overturned on a challenge from Marvin Lewis.  Nonetheless, they were forced to punt and the Falcons scored on the next drive, as Ryan found WR Roddy White for 43-yards and paydirt on a 3rd-and-one. Atlanta 17-3.

The next Bengal possession was stalled due to self-inflicted wounds, as Andre Smith, making his first start at RT this season, was called for a false start.  After a 12-men in the huddle penalty pushed them back further, Cincinnati had to punt yet again.

And yet again, the defense had no answer for the Falcon offense.  Atlanta drove 83 yards in 11 plays, finishing it off with a Michael Turner 3-yard burst over the goal line.  24-3.

The Bengals tried to put something together in the closing minutes of the first half, driving to the Falcons 35-yard line with 2-seconds left, but Mike Nugent’s 53-yard attempt sailed wide left.

As the teams went into the locker room for halftime, the Bengals looked completely outclassed.  They looked like the Bengals of the 90’s.  I half expected to see Bruce Coslet or David Shula with a headset on, and expected the Bengals to fold-up shop early and for Atlanta to cruise. 

Second Half

But I was wrong.  Cincinnati immediately came out with a spark and drove for a field goal from Nugent, this time from 33-yards out.  Palmer was 6-for-7 on the drive, the offense looked better, and it was 24-6.  Still a long way to go to get back into this one.

But they’d make up the ground in a hurry.

First, they forced a Falcons punt, then Palmer directed another quick drive, covering 88 yards in six plays, culminating in Terrell Owens’ nifty catch and run down the left side line from 19 yards out.  24-13.

On the Falcons’ next possession, The Bengals once-opportunistic defense came to life.  Matt Ryan attempted to hit Michael Jenkins on a flag route down the side-line but CB Leon Hall made an outstanding, leaping interception setting the Bengals up and in business at their own 38-yard line.  After two ugly running attempts to Benson, Carson Palmer found WR Jordan Shipley on a hot-read as the dirty bird defense was on a sell-out blitz on 3rd-and-12.  Shipley caught the short pass, juked a defender in the middle of the field, and raced down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown to make it 24-19 and a one score game.  Marvin Lewis opted for a 2-point conversion to pull to 3 points, but Palmer’s pass to Chad Ochocinco bounced off the receiver’s fingertips.

But the Birds weren’t out of the woods yet.  On their very next possession, and their first play from scrimmage, Roddy White, who killed the Bengals all game, coughed up the ball as he was being tackled by Adam Jones and Brandown Johnson.  Jones had yanked the ball out just a a split second before White’s knee hit the turf, and the former Titan scooped up the bobbling ball and dashed into the end zone giving the Bengals the lead at 25-24 with just over one minute remaining in the 3rd quarter to cap an amazing come-from-behind effort.  Falcons coach Mike Smith challenged the fumble ruling, but it was upheld.  The Bengals again went for 2, and again failed to connect on a pass from Palmer to Ochocinco.  25-24 Bengals.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, their lead was short-lived.  Matt Ryan quickly orchestrated a settling drive, as the Bengal defense was unable to pressure Ryan despite good coverage.  The drive ended as Ryan found Roddy White again from 11-yards out and a 30-25 lead.  The Falcons went for two to get a 7-point cushion, and succeeded as Ryan found White again in the end zone.  32-25 Falcons. 13:02 remained in the game.

The Bengals got the ball back and quickly drove into Falcons territory.  A 17-yard pass to Ochocinco got them to the Falcon 39, and Palmer and T.O. just missed a big touchdown on the next play as Owens’ second foot landed two inches too far outside, touching hte white of the sideline just a yard or two from the end zone.  Those two inches became crucial in Cincy’s downwardly-spiraling season as on the next play, Cedric Benson fumbled and Atlanta got the ball back, ending the Bengal threat.

Once again, Cincinnati needed its defense to play like it did in 2009, and once again they failed.  Mixing tough running from Turner and pinpoint passing from Ryan, the Falcons were able to drive right down the Bengals throats, pulling back up by 14 when Michael Turner steamrolled in for his second touchdown of the day from 3 yards out.  39-25 Falcons.

With just over 4 minutes to go in the game, the Bengals were faced with having to get two touchdowns in a hurry, and the odds were long.  Giving them credit, though, they did not quit.  Palmer led another touchdown drive, this one taking 3 minutes to 86 yards.  The final distance was covered by an eight yard toss from Palmer to Ochocinco.  Nugent’s extra point made it 39-32 Falcons with just 1:33 left.

The onside kick attempt was unsuccessful as DE Michael Johnson was flagged for being offsides.  3 Falcon runs and 3 Bengal time-outs gave Cincinnati one last gasp, but after Atlanta’s punt was down at the 4 and there was only 28 seconds left and no time-outs, they couldn’t get 96 yards and the game ended.

The Bengal leaders were:

Passing:  Carson Palmer: 36-for-50, 412 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s, and a rating of 116.4

Rushing: Cedric Benson:  20 carries for 70 yards and a 3.5 YPC average.

Receiving:  Jordan Shipley led all Bengal receivers with 131 yards on 6 catches and a touchdown.  Batman had 13 catches for 88 yards and a score, and Robin had 16 catches for 108 and a score.

Analysis coming soon….


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6 Responses to “Falcons Talon Bengals 39-32”

  1. Bill says:

    ok, positives
    1. Shippley is healthy, very healthy
    2. Defense and offense working like they should, at least in one quarter
    3. Palmer isn’t a question mark to me. Period.
    4. can only think of 3 general negatives that apply to entire game

    negatives
    1. pass coverage was frightening to me
    2. no pressure on the qb
    3. the penalties have yet to stop

  2. The Bengals offense and really beginning to take off though. Glad i picked of Terrell Owens in fantasy

  3. Ben Dover says:

    Somebody contact Mike Brown, Jerramy Stevens is available, he was cut by the Buccaneers after he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sale.
    He would be a great addition to a team of full of criminals. Hurry before someone else snaps him up.

  4. docholliday says:

    Didn’t Jerramy Stevens rape somebody in college? Seems like a better fit for Pittsburgh.

  5. Ben Dover says:

    Oh, did he go to an Ohio based college too? Is that kind of activity common for you lame Ohio college fellows?

  6. Chris says:

    The Bengals: what to make of this mixed bag of tricks in 2010.

    More first downs and total yards than their opponents. Winning the time of possession battle.

    But Palmer’s TD/Int ratio is bad, only 2 rushing touchdowns on the season, and they have attempted twice as many field goals as their opponents while scoring 4 fewer touchdowns.

    In addition, opposing teams are gaining, on average, almost 10 yards more than the Bengals on kick off returns. A good way to put too much pressure on the defense, while making the offense’s trip down field all that much longer.

    Losing Pacman to a bulging disk may be the ceremonial nail in the coffin that is already resting 6 feet below the surface waiting to be covered.

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