In the wake of the 24-19 victory over the Chargers, Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth is working on a streak of 24 straight games without allowing a sack and he heads back this Sunday to where it all began (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) when they open the Ravens' home schedule.
It will be recalled that on Nov. 10, 2013 (the A.J. Green Hail Mary Game), Whitworth, in his first game back since missing a week with a knee strain, struggled against Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil and company when the Bengals fell behind, 17-0, in the first half and came out throwing 20 times in the second half's first 25 snaps in one of the NFL's loudest venues.
Since then, Whitworth has blanked rushers like Suggs, Dumervil, DeMarcus Ware, Paul Kruger, Rob Ninkovich, and Aldon Smith. Suggs is out for the year, but the 5-11 Dumervil still looms in the M&T din and he's always used Whitworth's eight-inch height edge to his leverage advantage. But that 24-game streak includes three games against the Ravens and one in Baltimore.
And the fun is just beginning. Whitworth has been bracing for this stretch all offseason. The Chiefs' Tamba Hali comes to Paul Brown Stadium in two weeks, Seattle's Michael Bennett checks into PBS the week after, and then Rex Ryan's creativity is on tap in the voice velodrome that is Buffalo on Oct. 19.
He's had a great start. Profootballfocus.com rates him the league's second best tackle behind Cleveland's Joe Thomas.
In fact, PFF is in love with the Bengals offensive line after they lit up the Chargers, calling it a rare dominant performance. Without allowing a sack for the second straight week, protection grades were high and center Russell Bodine, off the line's highest run grades, is ranked No. 1 for all NFL centers by PFF.
FISHER AND CHAD: After catching the longest pass by an NFL offensive lineman since 1988, Bengals rookie backup Jake Fisher is just 750 catches behind Bengals all-time leader Chad Johnson.
And growing up in Traverse City, Mich., Fisher loved watching Johnson catch the ball and what he did after making the play.
"I was an Ocho guy. It's kind of funny I'm here," Fisher said. "He just captivated his audience. He was the best at what he did."
According to Elias, Fisher's 31-yard catch on Sunday to set up a field goal against the Chargers was the longest by an offensive lineman since Colts guard Brian Baldinger had a 37-yarder in 1988, four-and-a-half years before Fisher was born.
But he was in middle school when Johnson was at his peak.
"He made great plays. He was a fun entertainer to watch," Fisher said. "I think the time he proposed to a cheerleader was pretty funny. The Hall of Fame jacket was a classic. He does it all. It was fun. He was a six-time (Pro Bowler) for a reason."
RARE ROOM: How many locker rooms would you see this? The guy who gets benched (running back Jeremy Hill) agrees with the move and supports the guy that takes his place (Giovani Bernard) in ripping off a 100-yard game. And Bernard says Hill will bounce back after his two lost fumbles against the Chargers.
"We all knew what Gio could do before I got here," Hill said.
"When the opportunity arises, that's the biggest thing for anybody. Anybody out there with opportunities, go ahead and just do what you do," Bernard said. "He's a good player. I know this was off for him, but he'll bounce back great."
Last week, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said, 'I'm going to ride Jeremy Hill,' because he's got so much talent and Hill found himself riding the bench. Head coach Marvin Lewis said it was partly the two fumbles and partly Bernard getting hot as the reasons for the move. He was a bit mystified because last year as a Rookie of the Year candidate, ball security was an issue for Hill but not a big problem like this. Last year he fumbled five times and lost two.