Borrowing a page from Bengals founder Paul Brown, head coach Marvin Lewis took the temperature of Bengaldom Monday during his news conference and concluded, "Not too many teams have to make excuses for winning. I guess we do. I'll say little, our players will say less, and that's the way it will be."
Brown used to say, "When you lose, say little. When you win, say less," and after the 20-7 win over the Panthers in which the Bengals scored just seven points off four turnovers and just two touchdowns with an average drive start of their own 38 during more than 36 minutes of possession, Lewis said, "We're not going to make excuses or have a reason right or wrong. We'll keep working and getting better as we have."
» One of the glaring mishaps that left a bad taste was coming out of a first down from the Panthers 5 with 22 seconds left in the first half and running out of time before the Bengals could kick a field goal. Lewis said he got greedy and wanted to score a touchdown to try and put the game out of reach at 17-0, so he decided a) to try and run a no-huddle play and when that drew a penalty because of a screwed-up cadence b) he opted to take his last timeout so he could get 18 seconds on the clock and get a couple of shots into the end zone before kicking a field goal.
If he hadn't used his last timeout, he would have had eight seconds on the clock.
"I got greedy," he said. "But I wanted a touchdown."
» He also said one of his players was slow getting back to the line of scrimmage for the spike because he was hurt. Lewis didn't say who it was, but it was believed to be right tackle Dennis Roland.
» Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, who gets criticized for not having an identity, says the offense does and the identity is balance between a physical running game and effective passing game. He says they're still searching to solidify the pass, but the numbers bear it out. In the last two games Carson Palmer has thrown 72 passes and the Bengals have 68 rushes. That's more passing than last year and he thinks the offensive line is adjusting to the larger number of passes as one of the reasons the protection hasn't always been clean.
» Bratkowski said Palmer didn't play well and didn't think the weather was that much of a factor. But he also said Palmer wasn't helped out by some of the routes and the time in the pocket: "The quarterback has to get help from the people around him."
As in, there is never one answer. Case in point. On the first play of the game, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco ran the wrong route. On the third play of the game, Palmer threw a ball too far inside to The Ocho for an interception. On his other interception, Palmer got his arm hit when the pocket collapsed and it fell short of wide receiver Terrell Owens streaking open down the middle for a long touchdown pass.