Yardbarker Horiz

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Question: What's wrong with the Bengals?

Answer:  Take away Ochocinco and the 2010 Bengals are the 2009 Buffalo Bills.

Don't think so?  Check the past two weeks: "8-5" had 3 catches for 59 yards versus Cleveland (loss), followed by a 3 catch, 20 yard performance against Tampa Bay (loss).  Those numbers are down slightly from Ochocinco's 2009 averages of 4.5 catches and 65 yards/game.

It certainly is not Terrell Owens.  Against Cleveland, Owens set an individual best of 10 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdown.  Against Tampa Bay, he pulled in 7 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.  And yet, both of these games were losses . . . ?

And it does not seem to have anything to do with Cedric Benson:  15 carries for 60 yards versus the Browns, 23 carries for 144 yards against the Buccaneers.  Benson did not reach the endzone in either case, which does correlate, and could be a contributing factor.  But in both game he had a 4-or-more yards/carry average, so that doesn't seem broken.

The comparison to the Bills of last year is completely fair:  the 2009 Bills utilized Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards at quarterback last year.  Each threw for over 1,000 yards and had quarterback ratings of 69.7 and 73.8 respectively.   Carson Palmer currently boasts a slightly better 78.3 quarterback rating.

The 2009 Bills had 1,000 yard rusher Fred Jackson in the backfield and the 2010 Bengals have Cedric Benson who was also a 1,000 yard rusher in 2009.

At one wide receiver for the 2009 Bills was Lee Evans, who lead the team in touchdowns.  At the other wide receiver position was Terrell Owens, who lead the 2009 Bills in catches and yards.

The 2010 Bengals also have Terrell Owens, who is leading the team in receptions and yards.

Does it feel eerie to you yet?

Are Lee Evans and Chad Ochocinco the same player?  Specifically, no.  But they both have played across from Terrell Owens.  And taking away the not-Owens wide receiver appears to be a good formula to win against the Bengals.

Then again, it could be the loss of Jordan Shipley.  Or perhaps the lack of rushing touchdowns by Cedric Benson.

However, I don't think it's so much what's wrong with the Bengals.  It's more about the Browns and Buccaneers reaching the point of being talented enough to take a wide receiver out of the game as well as being talented enough to beat the 2009 Buffalo Bills.  Let Owens have all the yards he wants, it's who's wearing his jersey that is most important to him.

You're welcome, Atlanta!

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