BENGALS GAMEDAY: Photos, analysis, video highlights, stats, quotes* * *
Posted: 5:35 a.m.
DeDe Dorsey was five years old the last time the Bengals blocked a punt for a touchdown and Darrin Simmons was punting at Kansas the last time the Bengals blocked a punt of any kind.
And it seems like that's how long Dorsey has been on Simmons in trying to convince him to unleash him. The call finally came with 3:29 left Sunday in the third quarter of a game the Bengals trailed the Cardinals, 28-20.
"Coach told me to go get the ball. He said we needed one," said Dorsey, the backup running back who returned two months ago after getting cut just before the 2006 season.
Not only did Dorsey get it, but he took it off the foot of punter Mike Barr, saw it sitting on the Cards 19, then gathered it up for a touchdown run that gave the Paul Brown Stadium crowd its biggest jolt of the day.
It didn't last long. About a minute later Cards cornerback Antrel Rolle sucked back all that energy with a 54-yard interception return that made it 35-27 and the Bengals could never reclaim the momentum.
"I'm happy for DeDe. But we lost and we have to do better," said Simmons, the special teams coach who still felt a great deal of gratitude to his unit on this day.
Simmons didn't know on Friday if his leading tackler, Herana-Daze Jones, could play with a knee problem. Not only did he play, but he played the entire game and made one of his two tackles on the opening kickoff. Simmons also saw his captain, Dhani Jones, start at weakside linebacker and lead the team with seven tackles. Meanwhile, Arizona had just 122 yards on returns, all kickoffs.
Jones got the start again when Landon Johnson went back to middle linebacker for the second straight game with Anthony Schlegel playing but still nursing a bad back.
And then there was Dorsey, the exciting second-year player from Division III Lindenwood scoring his first NFL touchdown on the Bengals' first blocked punt for a touchdown one day shy of the 18-year anniversary since the last time it happened. Safety Barney Bussey recovered cornerback Eric Thomas' block in the end zone during a 42-7 win over the Lions at Riverfront Stadium on Nov. 19, 1989.
The last time the Bengals blocked a punt, it came against a team now defunct (the Houston Oilers) in a building now hosting livestock shows (The Astrodome) when safety Darryl Williams got one 12 years ago this week, Nov. 12, 1995, in a 32-25 victory.
"DeDe's been getting on me ever since he's been here about how many blocks he had in college," Simmons said of a number that Dorsey says is nine. "Playing at Lindenwood, nothing against that, but sometimes they don't have the same formations we see or use the same techniques we do. But some people have a knack and nine blocks in college is pretty impressive."
There was "no magic" to this one, Simmons said. Dorsey said he got the block from where he got those in college: On the edge.
"I beat the guy in the slot," Dorsey said of backup running back Marcel Shipp. "He came up to block me and I was able to come underneath him. Yeah, I took a few (blocks) back (in college). I'm back in rhythm now."
Still, when Dorsey saw the ball lying on the ground, "I'm thinking there's no way I'm going to get it before somebody else does," he said. "Then I'm thinking there's no way I'm going to get to the end zone before somebody gets me."
No one did.
Until Rolle surfaced about a minute later.
"I was hoping it would carry over and keep us going," Dorsey said. "But they came back and made a big play and it didn't work out for us."