Skip to main content

Hobson's Choice: Bengals know it's all in the game

Q: I would like to know your thoughts on the hit that took Trent Green out. I do not know why so many people are calling it a dirty hit. If you watch the replay, you can clearly see that he moved his head while he was falling so there would be no helmet to helmet contact. The contact was from Robert's shoulder pad that caused his head to snap back. I know everyone viewed the same replay. I just want to know your thoughts.
**--John C., Camden, OH

JOHN:** Just like everyone else. I was sick to my stomach that such a great game can also be so vicious and dangerous. And that it was a lot cleaner shot than the one Carson Palmer took.

Palmer was exposed sitting in the pocket, his pass was already gone, and Kimo von Oelhoffen hit him low even though he was late getting to the play crawling on the ground.

If that wasn't a cheap shot (as everyone in the league has insisted), then certainly Geathers trying to track down a quarterback running out of the pocket for a first down is fair game. If Green wasn't trying to get hit, he sure waited long enough to slide. Indeed, Geathers launched into the air even before Green slid, so does the defender now have to be a mind reader too?

And, I'm still trying to see where left guard Eric Steinbach supposedly blocked von Oelhoffen into Palmer. On the Green play, it's pretty clear wide receiver Eddie Kennison's block aided Geathers' momentum into Green.

And, as you say, it wasn't helmet-to-helmet.

Obviously, Geathers and everyone else wishes it didn't happen like that. Green is one of the great ambassadors of the game, is one of the NFL's finest players, and is a class act through and through as he proved in his dealings with Palmer this offseason.

But there's a big difference between circumstance and a cheap shot.

Q: Why was the offense so conservative? Obviously, the run needs to be established but come on. The passing game will set up the running game.
**--Mike, Rochester, NY

MIKE:** Wet field. Tough house. QB on the mend. Maybe they didn't run it enough. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski handled the elements and circumstances brilliantly.

A couple of things became clear in the first 20 minutes. The Chiefs were going to do next to nothing on offense, and the Bengals' own offense was far from its sharp self. So why try to be a hero? They don't give you an extra win for style points or degree of difficulty.

Finally, the Bengals can routinely go on the road and win a game with defense and special teams. They did it last year in Chicago and Baltimore, and on Sunday they did it against a better offense than those clubs, although not by much by the end of it.

Plus, without T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Perry, how wide open can you go without forcing it?

And you've got to believe that Palmer still needs to get some legs under him. He looks sharp and good much of the time, but he's still missing that consistency. Don't abuse him early. Believe it, they'll need to pass the ball against the Steelers and Patriots in the next few weeks and they will.

If anyone knows that road wins don't grow on trees, its anyone who has followed the Bengals. They've got 13 road wins under Marvin Lewis. Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau had 18, and Kansas City has won 71 percent of its home games in the last decade.

So if you can, milk the clock and go home, right? For as much grief as Brat got for passing the ball 40 times with a backup quarterback in the Wild Card game, you have to give him just as much credit for how he handled it Sunday.

And look for more of the same Sunday against the Browns. Romeo Crenel rarely lets an offense look good.

Q: (It) was a great way to start the season but I felt horrible about Trent Green having lost Palmer last year at a pivotal moment. My question is about the defense. How much of yesterday's impressive performance would you attribute to an improved Bengals D and how much to a weak Chiefs O-Line?
**--Chris, Sevierville, TN

CHRIS:** Both were huge factors. Clearly the Chiefs miss Willie Roaf and John Welbourn at tackles, but when was the last time a Bengals defensive front has been good enough to take advantage so decisively of such a matchup? They couldn't do it against a patchwork Browns offensive line that rocked them out of the 2003 playoffs with 186 yards from Lee Suggs.

I mean, Chiefs left tackle Kyle Turley playing for the first time in nearly three years, just got overwhelmed by the bull rushes of Justin Smith and Robert Geathers.

So, sure. They're not always going to get a matchup like that, but it's pretty clear the re-aligning of the front four over the offseason has made this a much better front and is going to give some good offensive lines problems because of its mix of speed and power and a rotation that can catch some clubs flat footed with its change of pace.

Guys are in the spots where they can do the most damage with Bryan Robinson and Smith going to their natural positions of left and right end, respectively, Robert Geathers as an edge pass rusher, and right tackle John Thornton able to use his athleticism next to the Sam Adams anchor at left tackle.

The arrival of Adams is the reason all these guys can go back where they belong. He played 22 snaps Sunday, and for a good number of them the Chiefs had two people paying attention to him.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.