On a day the Bengals defense got to Cincinnati's old franchise quarterback with four sacks and an estimated 13 hits, the leader of the Bengals offense got himself ejected trying to protect the current franchise quarterback.
Yes, if you were at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday you saw a little bit of everything in the Bengals 34-10 victory over the Raiders.
There was the longest field goal in Bengals history. The two longest runs in the career of Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. And BJGE and Cedric Peerman rushing for more yards (190) than prolific Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer could generate (146) passing.
And there was left tackle Andrew Whitworth's second career ejection, conjuring up that Nov. 2, 2008 game against Jacksonville when Jaguars tackle John Henderson tried to claw his face off.
And Whitworth said he'd do it again after Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston slapped Andy Dalton to the ground even though the fourth-quarter play had been whistled dead because of a false start.
As Green-Ellis said, "Whitworth did what he had to do." Whitworth confronted Houston, Houston lunged at him, Whitworth tried to grab his arms, and with 7:16 left in the game they were suddenly on the bottom of a scrum. Both got ejected, as did Raiders defensive tackle Tommie Kelly.
"I've got two contracts in my life," Whitworth said. "One with my wife and the other to protect Andy Dalton.
"We get paid to do a job and every week I go one-on-one with guys and my job is to keep Andy from getting hit. I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot to me and somebody who gets a cheap shot after the whistle blows four times and takes it because that's his chance to hit the quarterback, I take that personal."
Whitworth said he got in Houston's face, told him never to do it again, "and then he lunged at me with his head." That's when all heck broke loose and there could be more fines coming, not just for Whitworth.
But the Bengals stood by Whitworth.
Dalton joked that he owes Whitworth a Christmas present.
Head coach Marvin Lewis said it was a cheap shot and "Andrew came to his rescue, plain and simple."
"It was a major boost for us," said right tackle Andre Smith.
Wide receiver A.J. Green said he had a feeling something might happen with the big guys.
"I saw the guy slam Andy, so I knew Whit was going to lose it after that," Green said.
RUN FOR ROSES: A week after recording their biggest rushing game in the A.J. Green-Andy Dalton era with 189 in Kansas City, the Bengals did it again Sunday with a 221-yard day that is their biggest on the ground in eight years and the first time they cracked the 200-yard mark since a 210-yard effort against Cleveland in a PBS victory on Nov. 27, 2009 quarterbacked by Palmer.
It's their biggest rushing haul since the 253-yard binge in the 58-48 Shootout in Ohio of 2004 at PBS over the Browns and the third most in Lewis's 10 seasons.
With those runs of 48 and 39, Green-Ellis finished with his second straight 100-yard game with 129 yards on 19 carries for the first back-to-back 100-yard games of his five-year career. Sunday's effort was a first-down run away from his career-best of 136.
"Basically it's been the offensive line and the defensive line last couple of weeks dominating the opponents," The Law Firm said. "When you win up front, you win games."
The running game had been left for dead going into the bye with Green-Ellis's 3.3 yards per carry. But in the three-game winning streak he's at 4.8.
"I said weeks ago when things weren't looking so (good) for us, we have a lot of new guys up there," BJGE said of the two rookies and second-year man in the interior. "It's my first year in this offense. There's a lot going on. The more we get those repetitions, you always tend to get better."
Green-Ellis also outran the 24-hour rule Lewis puts on celebrating wins. After his postgame shower, he was already thinking about next Sunday's game (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Chargers.
"I'm hoping my stuff is on my iPad so when I get home I can start watching them," he said of his playbook.
RECORD BOOK ASSAULT: The biggest and the smallest led an assault on the Bengals record book Sunday.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins set the club's single-season record for sacks by a defensive tackle when he set the tone for the game and crunched Palmer on a screen pass on the day's third snap. That gave him nine for the season, breaking Dan Wilkinson's 17-year-old record.
"Then Michael (Johnson) right after was able to get a sack and I think that swung to our corner and then our offense scored the first two possessions (with) touchdowns," Atkins said.
"It was a screen. No one touched me, so I was able to penetrate up the field."
Kicker Mike Nugent tied the record for Cincinnati's longest field goal on the last play of the first half when his 55-yarder hit toward the downtown buildings matched Chris Bahr's 55-yarder against Houston at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 23, 1979. It was the longest kick ever in the 13 seasons of PBS, eclipsing the 54-yarders of Cleveland's Phil Dawson last year and Miami's Dan Carpenter in 2010.
"I just wanted to put a good hit on it," Nugent said. "I think that's a distance that you don't need to put more on it, though. I just wanted to hit a good solid ball and get it there."
It probably meant more to Nugent because he had just missed a 48-yarder wide right 40 seconds before. He said he hit a pair of 55-yarders while at Ohio State and his previous long in the NFL had been 54 yards twice, the last time in his first game with the Bengals in the 2010 opener in New England.
But Green couldn't keep his streak of nine straight games with a TD catch going as he tried to reach 10 and the fourth-longest skein of all time.
"Time to start a new one," he said.
That doesn't mean the Bengals weren't trying to get him this one. When Green-Ellis ran it inside the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter, he urged the offense to throw it to Green.
"I was hoping to get A.J. a touchdown there but then I saw two guys go out there with him which is very uncommon," Green-Ellis said. "That goes to show you what type of playmaker he is and his touchdown streak. We need him to score. When coach puts us out there to score we want to score touchdowns."
And two plays before Dalton found Gresham for a seven-yard touchdown for the game's last score with 3:39 left, Dalton gave it one final shot from the 11 on first down. But the Raiders had it scoped out and Green stopped short of the left corner as Dalton lofted it there.
"Andy threw the ball in double coverage over there. I should have just ran it," Green said. "I didn't know he was going to throw it. The corners had heavy outside leverage and the safety was trying to take the slant away, so I'm like, 'He's not going to throw it.' He threw it anyway.
"Like I tell everybody, I'm blessed to have it for nine games with a touchdown. A lot of people don't see that."
Green went over 1,000 yards for the second time in his two-year career and with 1,022 he's 36 shy of passing last year's rookie mark.