Perfection, Palmer style

Posted Oct 26, 2009

Palmer tossed five TDs on the day. (AP photo)

Updated: 10-26-09, 6 a.m.

This is what happens when you team the NFL’s leading rusher with your Pro Bowl quarterback:

A record book implosion.

Or, as Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said after Sunday's 45-10 victory over the Bears, "If you run the ball, you can do anything."

While running back Cedric Benson had a noisy 189 yards against his old team, Carson Palmer quietly rung up the best passer rating of his career at 146.7 with his second  most accurate day as a pro in sifting 20 of 24 passes for an 83.3 completion percentage. After getting points on all of seven Palmer's possessions, The Ocho envied offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

"Coach Brat had to be like a little kid with a joystick," Ochocinco said. "When you execute like that. Run it and pass it, and everything you do is working..."

After the bevvy of unbalanced lines, play-action fakes, inverted full-house backfields with tight ends flanking Benson and even a Wildcat formation with Palmer split wide and Benson taking the snap, The Ocho said, "I was confused." 

Already the club record holder with six touchdown passes, Palmer joins Boomer Esiason as the only Bengals with five touchdowns, a feat Esiason did twice. Palmer has two four-touchdown games with Esiasion and Ken Anderson having three each.

And Palmer is now just three TD passes shy of Matt Schaub’s NFL-leading 16 touchdown passes as he finds himself again with the big boys. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning each have 15 and Drew Brees has 14 with Palmer at 13.

Palmer’s 83.3 percent is the fifth most accurate game in Bengals history:

» 90.9 - Ken Anderson, 20-22 vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 10, 1974
» 87.1 - Ken Anderson, 27-31 at Houston, Jan. 2, 1983
» 87.0 - Turk Schonert, 20-23 vs. Atlanta,  Nov. 25, 1984
» 84.2 - Carson Palmer, 32-38 vs. Tennessee, Nov. 25, 2007
» 83.3 - Carson Palmer, 20-24 vs. Chicago, Oct. 25, 2009

"We're good, but we're not where we need to be," The Ocho said. "If we were, we'd be like this every single week."

The Ocho caught two more touchdowns, giving him five during his second straight 100-yard game, the last one a 13-yarder in the middle of a zone on which Palmer took a hellacious shot.

With 573 yards and five touchdowns, The Ocho now has 33 more yards and one more touchdown than he had all last year. And he triumphantly reminded everyone how he predicted to ESPN’s Skip Bayless before the season how he would surpass his numbers from last year before the bye.

“It’s sweet revenge, everyone is going to get it,” The Ocho said. “It’s all I want.”

Palmer and The Ocho seem to be on the same page again after all these years. Play-action is the sweet action around these parts. It’s how The Ocho got his first touchdown and about half of his yards Sunday.

“The running game set everything up today,” Palmer said. “We have run the ball very successfully all year, and we will continue to do that. When you have Cedric back there and an offensive line that gives him gaps and holes, it only makes the play-action pass game that much better.
“We had a number of nice play-actin passes that seemed to suck the underneath coverage up, and then we hit some holes behind them. But it all starts up front with the run game, and we got off to a nice start. The pockets were great all day, and I don’t know that I got hit hardly at all today.”
But all The Ocho could talk about was Baltimore on Nov. 8. He doesn’t want a bye.

“Not yet. I can’t wait. Someone is going to kiss the baby,” he said.


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