Bengals Tailgate Report: Week 12

Bengals Tailgate Report: Bump in the Road

11/25/09 in NFL   |   Aceraison   |   183 respect

When I looked at the Bengals schedule about a month ago I noticed a big difference between their upcoming home games and road games.  The home games didn’t have any powerhouses listed on there but the road schedule was full of them.  And then there was Oakland.  Oakland has not been considered an NFL powerhouse for quite some time now but I didn’t not like where that game fell on the schedule.  The Bengals historically do not play well on the west coast, if fact they were 0-9 in Oakland.  The game ended up following what could be the Bengals biggest win in past 20 years as they won in Pittsburgh to sweep the season series and took sole possession of first place in the division.  Going from Pittsburgh to Oakland to play against the 2-7 Raiders probably didn’t look like much of a threat.  The Raiders made a move earlier in the week that made me uneasy .  They benched their franchise quarterback JaMarcus Russell for back up Bruce Gradkowski.  I remembered going to Tampa Bay in 2006 and watching Gradkowski lead the 0-3 Buccaneers to a come from behind win over the 4-0 Bengals.

When the game started it looked like my worrying was for not.  The Bengals took the opening kickoff and went on a 14 play, 9 ½ minute drive that resulted in their first touchdown.  The defense came in and did their job forcing the Raiders to punt shortly after getting the ball.  After a Carson Palmer fumble and a Raiders missed field goal the Bengals marched right down the field again and scored.  They seemed to be in charge.  Carson was handing the pressure that Oakland defensive line was pouring on and Bernard Scott was filling in nicely for the injured Cedric Benson.  But after they took a 14-0 lead it looked as if they shut it down.  Even though the Bengals controlled the ball for almost the entire first half Oakland was able to put a drive together and score a touchdown with a minute left in the half.


The Bengals offense wasn’t able to get much going in the second half.  The Raiders defense came out in full force and put big time pressure on Carson and company.  Carson was sacked three times and the Raiders caused 3 fumbles.  The only thing they could come up with in the second half was a pair of field goal attempts, one of which Shane Graham missed.  This left the door open for Bruce Gradkowski to pull off another memorable comeback against the Bengals.  With two minutes to play he put together an 11 play, 80 yard drive in 1 minute, 39 seconds to tie the game.  When Andre Caldwell fumbled away the following kickoff it set up Oakland for the upset.  The Raiders scored 10 points in the last 33 seconds of the game.  The Raiders have only averaged 9.8 points per game all season.


Fortunately for the Bengals they weren’t the only team in their division who had a bad weekend.  The Steelers lost to less than impressive Chiefs team to remain a game behind the Bengals while the Ravens blew a chance to knock off the undefeated Colts.  They remain two games backs.  A win by the Bengals would have given them a good lead in the division and taken a little pressure off for the tough schedule ahead.


Looking ahead to this weekend’s game it doesn’t look so tough with the 1-9 Cleveland Browns coming to town for the second annual Battle Of Ohio.  But losing to the Raiders last week should be a good indication that there are no easy games in the NFL.  In the Bengals first meeting with the Browns it took them until 14:56 into overtime to finish off the then winless Browns.  When these two teams play you can throw out the records because they know each other so well.

The Browns will have a little bit of a different look than when they meet in Week 4.  Brady Quinn has replaced quarterback Derek Anderson as the starting quarterback, who had actually replaced Quinn back in week 4.  Quinn had a big game last week against the lowly Lions but it wasn’t enough to win the game as Detroit pulled ahead of Cleveland with a 2-8 record.  The Browns will also have starting running back Jamal Lewis back in the lineup after missing some games earlier in the year to an ankle injury.  The player the Bengals need to worry about mostly is wide receiver/kick returner Joshua Cribbs.  Cribbs torched the Bengals in their first meeting and was a huge factor in the keeping the Browns close that day.


The Bengals look to be in pretty good shape coming into this game.  Marvin Lewis is feeling confident that Cedric Benson will be able to play this week.  If not, Bernard Scott will get the call again – Scott had an impressive 119 yards in his debut as starter last week.  The only other significant injury looks to Domata Peko who strained his knee last week but he is hopeful to play as well.


The Bengals come in as 14 point favorites.  I believe the Bengals can win by that amount but with way they have getting conservative on offense when they have the lead I don’t know that they will extend it that far.  I would hope that last week's result will change that mentality. I  do expect the Browns to put up a good fight but the Bengals will not have back to back let downs.  I’ll take the Bengals 31-24.


After two consecutive road games the tailgate crew finally gets to do it up again at Longworth Hall.  The Browns game is always one of my favorites.  It has to be because there are always a bunch of Browns fans there and I have about 8 songs on the playlist that bash the Browns.   We’ll have to get there a few minutes early so I can play them a couple extra times.  Anyone coming to the game is welcome to stop by and get harassed!

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